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Gerald Pitzwalter, his eldest son, married Nesta, daughter of Rhasa, Prince of South Wales. 

ITorbs of ffallg. fioase of jprsmonb. flarl of 





i'itnarrh [ how 


Died 1260. 
Thomas, his 
second son, 


h.-.n of 



John, his 

son, slain with 

his eld. son, 

Maurice, at 

Callan, 1261. 


Of age 1281. 

Thomas, gr.-son 

of John, styled 

Prince of 


D. 1298. 


his 2d son. 
Cr. E. of Des- 
mond 1329. 
A very just man. 

The line of the Earls of Desmond was continued in direct male descent to James 7th earl. Gerald, 4th earl, was 
distinguished for talent and literature, and obtained the name of poet; he was made lord- justice of Ireland 1367. 
In 1397 he left his camp and was never more seen ; his son, John, 5th earl, was drowned in leading his army across 
a ford on the river .Suir; his son, Thomas, 6th earl, having married Katherine M'Cormac, the daughter of a cotter 
on his own lands, such a faction was raised against him by his uncle, that he was obliged to retire into private life, 
and resign his title and honours to his uncle, who succeeded as 7th earl. 



James, brother 
of 5th B., raised 

to wealth by 
extensive grants. 



Thomas, his son, 
beheaded thro' 
intrigue by the 
Lord Deputy. 




his brother. 



James, his only 

son, died at a 



8. by his uncle 


There is nothing of interest in the line till we come to the 15th earl, 1536. Of the intervening earls, James, 13th, 
was slain by Sir Thomas Fitzgerald, and his son, Thomas, 14th earl, died of extreme old age. 



James, son of 
Thomas. His 
estate from 50 

to 60 miles. 

Lord HighTreas. 

of I. 


Gerald, his son, 

attainted, and his 

estates forfeited 

to the Crown. 




an officer in 

King of Spain's 

service, d. in 

Germany 1632. 

Title extinct 

Ermine ; a saltier, gules, engrailed. 

The Desmond arms are also borne by the following families in Wales descended from Osborn Fitzgerald, who de- 
rived from Maurice Fitz John, the first earl, and obtained large grants of land from the then monarch of North Wales. 

N.B. The name Fitz John seems to be given to this branch as distinctive of its direct descent from John of Cal- 
lan, who first acquired the lands of Desmond. 







A.Fu1larton & C LradBn k Eimlnbgh.. 


ANGLO NORMAN. A-WU1U.H1 1 tt 1 & L 





Gerald Fitzwalter, his eldest son, married Nesta, daughter of Rhasa, Prince of South Wales. 
William, his second son, accompanied Earl Strongbow into Ireland in 1171. 

Raymond Le Grosse, his eldest son, a principal actor in the conquest of Ireland, married sister of Earl Strongbow, 

and elected Governor on his death. 

Maurice Fitz Raymond, his eldest son, whence the family name, married daughter of Fitz Henry, Governor of 
Ireland, and settled in lands in Kerry, acquired by services of his father to Macarthy, King of Cork. 

of llerrg an& 1 arena |ttiafe. 



Thomas, his eld. 
son, founded 
Ardfert, mar. 
g.-dau. of Der- 
mott Mac Mur- 
rough, king of 


(2.) 1280. 

Maurice (eld. s.) 

served with 

Edward I. in 

Scottish wars. 

(3.) 1303. 

Nicholas, his eld. 

son, served in 



(4.) 1314. 

Maurice (eld. s.) 

attainted and 

forfeited for 

murder in court. 

(6.) 1339. 
John, his bro., 


(6.) 1348. 
Maurice, his son, 
prisoner to Irish 


(7.) 1398. 

Sir Patrick, his 

son, called 


killed 1410. 

The line of the LORDS OF KERRY was continued in direct male succession Thomas, the sixteenth, Patrick the : 
seventeenth, and Thomas, the eighteenth Lords, having all engaged in various rebellions during the reign of 
Elizabeth ; and the last named having been outlawed by that queen, but pardoned and restored to title and lands 
by James VI. to William, twentieth baron, who died in 1687. The eldest son, Thomas, twenty-first baron, mar- 
rying, in 1692, Ann, daughter of Sir William Petty, and having, during a prolonged fo/e, supported the Protestant 
succession to the English throne, was, by George I., created Earl of Kerry in 1723. John, fifth son of this Thomas, 
again, having inherited the vast possessions of his uncle, Henry son of Sir William Petty and Earl of Shelburne, 
was, after him, created also Earl of Shelburne in Ireland in 1753. His descendants in the third generation having 
then risen to the honours of Marquis of Lansdowne, &c. , in England succeeded, in default of nearer male heirs, 
to the earldom. Hence a great, rise took place in the fortunes of this ancient family. 




E. 2. B. 22. 



liis eldest son, 

Lord-lieut. of 

co. Kerry 


E. 3. B. 23. 


Francis Thomas, 

his only son, 

born in 1740, 

died 1813 

s. p. 

E. 4. B. 24. 


Henry Petty 
2d Marquis of 
g.-son of 5th son 
of 1st earl. 


QUARTERLY. 1st and 4th. Ermine on 
a bend, azure, a magnetic needle point- 
ing at a polar star, or, for Petty; 2d 
and 3d. Argent, a saltier, gules, a chief 
ermine, for Fitzmaurice. 

CRESTS. 1st. A centaur drawing a 
bow and arrow proper, the part from the 

waist argent ; 2d. a bee-hive beset with 
bees, diversely volant, proper. 

SUPPORTERS. Two pegas, ermine, 
bridled, crined, winged, and ungnled, 
or, each charged on the shoulder with a 
fleur de Its azure. 

E. 5, 6. B. 25, 

(M. 3.) William 
Thomas, his 
eklest son. 


(M. 4.) Henry, 
his brother. 

E. 7. B. 26. 


(M. 5.) Henry 

Charles Keith. 

his son. 



Piiimaunws of 

from Gerard, 
his second son, 

by Joanna, 
d. of Fitz Henry, 

gov. of I. 



of Brefs, 

Mayo, from 

Maurice, his son 

by Catherine, 

dau. of 
Sir Miles Cogan. 


Pierws of 

Ballj Mae Equim. 

from Pierse, 

2d s. of Thomas 

1st L. of K., by 

Gr.idy, g. dau. of 


K. of L. 




from Matthias, 
s. of Maurice, 2d 
L. by Catherine 
Maearthy More. 


<!) ' v t W SI&tfOHN BERMINGHAM. 


have been compelled partially to advert in other lives. We may now 
proceed to its detail. 

It will not be necessary to detail the incidents of Scottish history 
which led to Edward Bruce's descent on the Irish coast. The death 
of Edward I. freed the Scotch from the pressure of a formidable 
enemy. Robert Bruce, after a long struggle with adversity, was, by 
the issue of the battle of Bannockburn, placed in secure possession of 
the Scottish throne. 

The Irish were also soon apprized of the feebleness of the English 
prince, and were seized by a strong desire to avail themselves of the 
opportunity to throw off the yoke. To effect such a purpose, it was, 
however, necessary to bring a force into the field adequate to struggle 
with the formidable power and valour of the English barons. Robert 
Bruce, who was at the time, without opposition, ravaging the northern 
frontiers of England, seemed an obvious resource upon such an occa- 
sion. To him, therefore, the chiefs of Northern Ulster applied. They 
represented the wrongs they had sustained, and were sustaining, from 
the inveterate enemies of his family, person, and nation; they must 
also have pleaded the ready assistance which he had in his own diffi- 
culties found from them ; they reminded him of the near consanguinity 
of the two nations, and finally offered to receive a king from Scotland, 
should they first be liberated by his valour. 

There were also reasons of a strong and peculiar nature, which 
operated to give ready effect to such an application. The juncture 
was seemingly favourable, and Robert Bruce was, by his nature, 
character, present situation, and tried experience, admirably adapted 
to succeed in such an enterprise. But other circumstances had been 
working, to prepare the way for the application made by the Irish, 
which gave a different turn to the event. The brave monarch to whom 
their offer was made had a brother, as enterprising and valiant as 
himself, to whose fiery and impetuous valour he had been indebted for 
success in many an arduous danger, and who had shared all his for- 
tunes and sufferings, through the long and trying struggle which placed 
him on the throne. Edward Bruce was restless, violent, enterprising, 
and ambitious; a character which, though not unfitted to the nature 
of the warfare in which his youth had been passed, was scarcely compati- 
ble with the calm and peaceable subordination, which was so much the 
interest of his royal brother to preserve in his small and turbulent 
monarchy. Among the fiery, proud, and contentious elements of the 
Scottish aristocracy, a character like that of Edward was always to 
be feared. He was as rash and inconsiderate, as he was ambitious ; 
and having so long been placed, by the emergencies of his brother's 
life, and the importance of his military services, in a station approach- 
ing equal command, he did not think it unreasonable to desire an 
equal share in the government of the kingdom. Such a proposal must 
have filled the breast of king Robert with disquietude, if not with 
alarm : however appeased by reason or concession, the wish itself was 
full of danger. King Robert, it is said, assured his brother of the 
succession, in case of the failure of issue male; but the proposal of the 
Irish chiefs came happily to relieve him from the difficulty, and he 
offered to place his brother at the head of an army, and to fix him on 


.' *** XT. i.'Wl ' 






v* *'- f u 


the throne of Ireland. The time was favourable to this undertaking 1 ; 
Ireland was seemingly defenceless; the English were divided and 
weakened by dissension ; the Irish chiefs were favourable ; and England 
not in a condition to offer any very efficient resistance. The great 
monarch, whose wisdom and valour would have made such an enterprise 
formidable, was succeeded by a feeble prince, whose incapacity was 
betrayed by the uncontrolled disorder and maleadministration of every 
province of his kingdom, which made him the subject of universal 
contempt. The project was full of golden promise, and Edward Bruce 
was easily teOipted by the glittering bait. 

Some historians speak of a premature attempt of Bruce's, the result 
of his impatience, which, not being proportionably seconded, was 
repelled. It will, however, be enough here, to detail the particulars 
of the main effort which worked so much woe in this island, and is 
connected mainly with the subject of this memoir. 

It was in 1314, the seventh year of king Edward II., when lord 
Edmund Butler was deputy in Ireland, that Edward Bruce made his 
appearance with three hundred transports, containing six thousand 
Scots, on the north-eastern coast. Having effected a landing, he took 
forcible possession of the castle of Man, and took the lord O'Donnel 
prisoner.* Soon after, he landed his entire army, and was joined by 
the greater part of the native chiefs of Ulster, with such forces as they 
could command. They freely swore fidelity to his cause, and gave their 
hostages. He commenced hostilities without loss of time. It was 
thought necessary to begin by striking terror through the country; 
and his operations were of the most violent and desolating character: 
fire, waste, and a nearly indiscriminate slaughter were diffused among 
the northern settlements of the English. His barbarian outrages were 
heightened by the savage animosity of the natives. The castles of their 
English neighbours were levelled to the ground ; their towns destroy- 
ed by fire ; and the whole settlement depopulated. The terror of the 
spoilers went before them, and consternation was spread through every 
part of the English pale. Amongst the greater English barons dis- 
union prevailed; and it is not improbable, that they were more intent 
on the consideration how this invasion might be made instrumental to 
their private animosities or cupidities, than on the means of averting 
the general calamity. As has been already noticed, De Burgo rose 
iu defence of his own possessions, which were the first to suffer from 
the enemy's attack; but any force that De Burgo could command, was 
far below the demand of the emergency. The prince of Connaught 
was won from his alliance by the insidious flatteries of Bruce ; and he 
was left to the support of his own proud and courageous spirit. The 
lord deputy came to his aid; but unwilling to be indebted to the 
English government, which he had always treated with contempt, for 
his safety, he declared his own forces sufficient to repel the enemy. 
The feebleness of the government is indicated by the fact, that the 
lord deputy yielded to this boastful rejection, and left him to a struggle 
for which he was manifestly unprepared. Bruce had advanced into 
Louth, but was compelled, by the scarcity of provisions, to fall back 



into Ulster. De Burgo followed, and coming to an engagement, on 
the 10th of September, was defeated with great loss. This defeat 
was, however, not sufficient to paralyze the activity of De Burgo, and 
he was still enabled to harass the enemy. 

The operations of Bruce were materially weakened and retarded by 
an inconvenience which was, in some measure, the result of his own 
improvidence. The waste committed by his army quickly made pro- 
visions scarce, and before long grew to a disastrous dearth, to which 
the failure of his enterprise is mainly attributable. He found it neces- 
sary to retire into Ulster, until he might make more efficient provision, 
and increase his force for an advance. 

During this interval, a relation of Feidlim O'Conor's took advan- 
tage of his absence to usurp his rights. Feidlim was quickly re-in- 
stated in his possessions by Sir John Bermingham, but immediately 
after declared for Bruce. His example was followed by many other 
chiefs, who had till then rested neuter. The chiefs of Munster and 
Meath joined their forces. The clergy declared for Bruce, and loudly 
called to arms. Bruce was crowned at Dundalk; and to add to this 
formidable conjuncture, the king of Scotland landed with a fresh and 
powerful force in Ireland. This sagacious prince soon saw enough 
to damp his ardour for the field: the subsistence of an army, even 
under the most favourable circumstances, was at the time a main 
obstacle to such enterprises; the support of the Irish was little to 
be counted on; the resistance of the English, though tardy, would 
be formidable ; and a sagacious eye could perceive, that while the 
Scottish force was daily becoming less efficient, the hostile power 
was slowly gathering from afar. The first step to be gained by the 
English was embarrassed by many difficulties: it was hard for the 
lord justice to bring- an army into the field; but if this were once 
effected, the odds would be fearfully against any force that could be 
brought to oppose them. It was, besides, no part of king Robert's plan 
to waste his life upon an enterprise made painful by distressing dearth 
of means, and beset with incalculable difficulties and impediments. 
He was satisfied with having cheered his proud and hotbrained brother 
to perseverance, and having effected this purpose, he retired. He left 
his army with his brother, who was thus enabled to assume a more 
formidable posture. Among his adherents were many of the degener- 
ate English, of whom the De Lacies and their numerous followers were 
the chief part.* 

He laid siege to Carrickfergus. This town resisted to the most 
distressing extremities of weakness and famine ; but the vast increase 
of the besieging force now rendered further resistance hopeless, and 
it was compelled to surrender. Bruce was next obliged to march south- 

The appearance of danger was imposing; a strong and numerous 
army, led by a renowned warrior and joined by the Irish nation, was 
not without extreme infatuation to be lost sight of in petty animosities. 
It became at last evident that the safety of the whole was at stake; 
and the common danger began to infuse unanimity and loyalty among 

* Leland. 



having disguised himself in a fool's dress, he entered the Scottish 
camp, and seeking out Bruce, he dashed his brains out with a leaden 
plummet. He was instantly cut to pieces. When Bermingham re- 
ceived intelligence of the event, he at once took advantage of the 
confusion it must have caused, and commanded an attack. Both ac- 
counts agree that Bruce was slain by Maupas, whose body was 
found stretched over him. This incident cannot be reconciled with 
the last mentioned accounts, as it seems to imply a state of confused 
resistance and hurried flight; for it is nearly impossible that the re- 
spect of the Scots would have suffered the body of his slayer to lie 
across that of their general, if there was a moment for the deliberate 
notice of such a circumstance. Maupas's heir was rewarded with forty 
marks per annum. Bruce's head was sent to king Edward by Ber- 
mingham, who was created earl of Louth, by a patent dated 12th 
May, 1319, with a grant of the manor of Atherdee in that county. 

The same year he gained another victory, in Connaught, over O'Conor 
and MacKelly, in which 500 Irish were slain. In June, 1321, he was 
lord justice in Ireland, with a fee or salary of 500 marks. In 1322, 
he conducted a large force into England, to join the king in his in- 
tended war with the Scots. 

In 1325, he founded the Franciscan friary of Thermoy. He was at 
length murdered by the Irish in Louth, on Whitsun-Eve, at Balli- 
beagan in 1329, with many of his kindred and name, to the amount 
of 200 persons. He was the most able leader among the Irish barons 
of his day. He was married to a daughter of the earl of Ulster, by 
whom he left three daughters. 


CIRC. A. D. 1327. 

AMONGST the most distinguished warriors who came with earl 
Strongbow to this island, none was more eminently distinguished for 
personal valour and the lustre of his exploits in the field, than Sir 
Roger le Poer, great-grandfather to lord Arnold. He had the govern- 
ment of the country about Leighlin, where he was assassinated. He 
left a son by a niece of Sir Armoric de St Lawrence, who was the 
grandfather of the subject of our present memoir. All the interme- 
diate ancestors, from the first, were brilliantly distinguished in their 
several generations by those actions which, however illustrious, are un- 
happily the too uniform burthen of the page of our history. Lord 
Arnold's life presents an honourable variety of less conspicuous but 
more intrinsically noble distinction; he is here selected for comme- 
moration on account of the creditable part he bore in resisting the 
power of a superstitious and persecuting church, and the honour of 
having been a martyr to the cause of mercy and justice. We shall 
therefore briefly notice the previous events of his life, in which he had 
his full share in those transactions of which we have already had, and 
still have, to detail so much, and hasten to the last melancholy tribute 
which is justly due to his memory. 


The first remarkable event of his life was a single combat, in which 
he was, in his own defence, compelled to slay Sir John Bonneville, who 
was the assailant, as was proved at his trial before a parliament held 
in Kildare, in 1310, the year after the circumstance. 

In 1 325, he was made seneschal of the county and city of Kilkenny, 
an office of high trust and dignity in those days, though since degraded 
both in rank and functions, and in our own times existing as the foul- 
est blemish on the distribution of justice in this country. 

In 1 327, he excited a tumultuary war in Ireland, by calling Gerald, 
earl of Desmond, a rhymer. Of this we have already taken notice 
in the memoir of that eminent person. 

Among the gloomy characters which have appropriated to these 
periods in which w r e are now engaged, the name of " dark ages" the 
most awful, both on account of its causes and consequences, was the 
cruel and arbitrary system of church despotism maintained by perse- 
cution. At a period when the original institutions of Christianity lay 
buried under a spurious superstition, developed out of all those very cor- 
ruptions of human nature for which the gospel was designed to contain 
the remedy the church, for the maintenance of its usurpations, had 
begun to protect its own groundless dogmas and spurious sanctity 
with an hundred-fold strictness. The primitive church was content to 
expel from its communion the idolater and the obstinate impugner of 
its fundamental doctrine: but the church of the darker ages, setting 
at nought this fundamental doctrine, yet assuming a character of more 
rigid and authoritative control of the conscience, guarded its own 
heresies with the rack and faggot of the inquisition. Opinion, reason, 
research, were hunted down with the cry of heresy and the blood- 
hounds of the hell-born inquisition; and a fearful tyranny, reared in 
moral and intellectual darkness and pillared by cruelty, was rapidly 
extending itself over all the kingdoms of Europe. Candour must 
admit that of the Popes, the majority would have restrained this 
horrid svstem within the limits which their own policy required ; 
but the vindictive principle in human nature, when it becomes com- 
bined with either superstition or any other passion of a permanent 
nature, and capable of affecting the multitude, readily kindles into 
fanaticism. And an instrument of power will seldom fail to be abused 
for the purposes of individual resentment or ambition. 

In Ireland, where the authority of the Roman see had received 
slow admission, and was not for a long time after this established, the 
prudence of the Roman cabinet would have refrained ; but the rancour 
of the odium theologicum a term which has survived its correct mean- 
ing burned the more fiercely in the breasts of individuals. A bishop 
of Ossorv, fired no doubt by the report of the portentous novelty of 
the continental institution of the auto daje, seems to have conceived 
the liberal and patriotic project of introducing it into Ireland. 

In the midst of its distractions, and amid the wild and sanguinary 
confusion of a state closely bordering on utter anarchy, the island was 
suddenly horror-struck with the cry of heresy. Alice Ketler, a lady 
of rank, was the first victim of a charge, which, notwithstanding some 
circumstances that seem to refer it to the bigotry of an individual, it 
is yet not easy to avoid regarding as part of a systematic contrivance. 


The peculiar accusation was at least well adapted to the purpose 
of conciliating 1 the sense of the multitude, ever easily brought 
round to any height of error or crime. A persecution for mere 
opinion is only popular when fanaticism has been fully kindled; 
but one for witchcraft, the horror of vulgar superstition, would be 
likely to win the support of opinion and public sentiment, and pave 
the way for the whole flagrant legion of St Dominic. Accordingly, 
this unhappy lady was accused in the spiritual court of Ossory, of 
the formidable crime of witchcraft ; she was alleged to have stamped 
the sacramental wafer with the devil's name, and to have possessed 'an 
ointment to convert her staff into the flying broomstick of a witch. 
On this charge, one of her people was executed and her son impris- 
oned. The charge failed, but the accuser was resolved not to miss 
his object. The charge of heresy, which doubtless had been kept 
back to be an insidious aggravation, was brought forward, and Mrs 
Ketler was, on this charge, tried and condemned to the stake. 

It was then that the lord Arnold de la Poer, being, as we have 
mentioned, the seneschal of Kilkenny, humanely interfered. The re- 
source of bishop Ledred was prompt and terrible ; lord Arnold was 
himself assailed with the fatal charge. He appealed lo the prior of 
Kilmainham, who was chief justice ; the same accusation was extend- 
ed to the prior. Lord Arnold, thus deprived of every resource, was 
left in prison in the castle of Dublin, where his death took place before 
he could be brought to trial. The prior of Kilmainham, Roger 
Outlaw, proved the falsehood of the accusation; but. it is said that 
lord Arnold, having died " unassoiled," was left for a long time un- 

As we shall not return to this disagreeable incident, we may here 
complete the account by adding that the archbishop of Dublin wisely 
and humanely determined to arrest in its commencement, the introduc- 
tion of this new and fearful shape of calamity into Ireland. He assailed 
the fanatic of Ossory with his own weapon, and charged him with 
heresy. Ledred was obliged to fly, and made an impotent appeal to 
the Roman see. 


DIED A. D. 1422. 

OF the Irish chieftains at this period, any information to be obtained 
is unsatisfactory; and we are compelled to pass them in silence, from 
the very desultory nature of our information. We have already had 
occasion to name M'Murrough amongst those Irish chiefs who were 
knighted by king Richard. 

It is unnecessary to detail the circumstances which so soon brought 
Richard back to Ireland, 1399; here alone he found even the shadow 
of honour or success. At this period, M'Murrough is represented as 
heading a strong force of his country against the English. His pride 
and sense of independence were deeply offended by the submissions he 
had been compelled to make; and neither the vows of allegiance and 
fealty, the pension of 80 merks, the honour of knighthood, nor even the 


considerations of prudence, were sufficient to control his impatience to 
fling off the imputation of a yoke, and wash out the stain of submission, 
by the unconscious guilt of perjury and shame of falsehood. 

For any open course of resistance on the battle-field, he had not, 
however, sufficient means. ' He therefore had recourse to the well- 
known system of light-heeled, though not unsoldier-like tactics of 
flying and ambushed war that bad so often perplexed and endangered 
the soldiers of Fitz-Stephen and Strongbow. With a force of three 
thousand men he took his post among the woods. The English, as 
they approached, were surprised with the apparition of a well appointed 
army drawn up along the forest edge, and seeming by their soldier- 
like order, and intrepid front, prepared to offer immediate battle. 
The appearance was illusory. As the English captains drew up their 
troops in order of battle, their enemies melted away into the darkness 
of the woods. 

This incident elated Richard, who celebrated his triumph by the 
creation of several knights; among whom was Henry of Lancaster, 
whose father was at the moment preparing dethronement and disgrace 
for the feeble Richard, while he was vapouring about the fancied dis- 
comfiture of an enemy who despised him. 

Richard ordered a large body of peasants to open a lane through the 
impervious woods ; and, when this insane order was executed, he had 
the childish temerity to lead his army into a defile, aptly contrived for 
the destruction of its designer. The English troops were soon 
entangled in the miry passes of a labyrinth of thickets, lined with 
invisible enemies of hollow morasses and impeded ways, where it was 
as hard to return as to proceed. At every point of disorder they were 
assailed with sudden irruptions of the enemy, who rushed out into the 
entangled and struggling crowd with astonishing force and noise, and 
cast their darts with deadly effect. Under such circumstances, any force 
of ordinary numbers must have fallen a sacrifice to the rashness of 
their leader. The army of Richard was too strong to be beaten under 
any disadvantage by a tumultuary crowd, whose strength was the con- 
cealment from which they made attacks which were rather directed 
to cut off stragglers, than to make any impression on the main host. 
There was, therefore, no hope of gaining any decided advantage; 
and the chiefs of M'Murrough's army were most of them impressed with 
a sense of the danger of provoking the hostility of the English to ex- 
tremities. Many of them came of their own accord, to make their 
peace with Richard ; they appeared with halters round their necks and 
threw themselves at his feet to implore for pardon and mercy. 
Richard's anger was quickly appeased through the easy approach of his 
vanity. M'MurrOugh was formally summoned to submit, but the sum- 
mons was deprived of its authority and dignity by the accompaniment 
of large offers. M'Murrough was, in his own way, as vain as his anta- 
gonist; and he saw the increasing distresses of the English. Richard 
had, in his thoughtless impetuosity, neglected to observe, that the scene 
of such long- continued wars and disturbances could not supply the wants 
of his army. This oversight was not lost upon the sagacity of M'Mur- 
rough, who anticipated the sure consequences, and was thus encouraged 
in the course of resistance he had pursued. There seems indeed to 



have been throughout, a struggle between pride and prudence in the 
mind of this chief; he saw his advantages, but seems to have hesitated 
in their use whether to obtain a beneficial compromise, or to win the 
name of a heroic resistance. The temptation to this latter vain course 
, was very great. There was a dearth amounting to famine in Richard's 
camp : his men were perishing from want the horses were become un- 
fit for service a general discontent possessed the army the very 
knights complained of hardships unattended with the chance of honour. 
It became a necessity to change their quarters. M'Murrough saw the 
advantageous occasion which was unlikely to recur, as Richard's dis- 
tresses must end with his arrival in Dublin. The plunder of some 
vessels, laden with a scanty supply of provisions, by his own soldiers, 
decided the king ; and the Irish chief who wavered to the last moment, 
now sent in to desire a safe-conduct, that he might treat for peace. 
The duke of Gloucester was sent to meet him and settle the terms. 
The meeting has been described, by a historian of the time, with 
graphic precision; the description, though assimilated to caricature by 
some touches of grotesque truth, affords a curious gleam of the social 
state of the Irish of that generation, and is equally interesting for the 
lively portrait it gives of the ancient barbaric chief: the ostentatious 
and flourishing extravagance of barbarian vanity cannot be mistaken, 
and the portrait is altogether full of uncouth nature and truth. The 
Irish king darted forth from a mountain, surrounded by the forests 
which concealed his forces; he was mounted on a strong and swift 
horse, and rode without stirrups. A vast mantle covered his person 
with its ample folds, but did not conceal the strong mould of his tall 
and well-proportioned frame, " formed for agility and strength." As 
he approached with the rapidity of a warrior about to charge, he 
waved proudly to his followers to halt; and, darting the spear which 
he grasped in his right hand, with the display of much force and skill, 
into the ground, he rushed forward to meet the English knight, who 
stood more entertained than awed by this formidable exhibition of 
native energy. 

The treaty ended in nothing; the prudence of M'Murchard was 
uncertain and wavering, his pride and prurient haughtiness were 
in permanent inflammation. The hero outweighed the statesman, 
and he could not resist the opportunity for a display of kingly lofti- 
ness. He offered submission, for such was the purpose of his coming, 
but he refused to be shackled by stipulation or security. His inso- 
lence quickly terminated a conference in which no terms could be 
agreed upon, and each party returned to their own camps. 

M'Murrough had now plainly involved himself in a condition of which, 
in the ordinary course, ruin must have soon followed. The king was 
infuriated; and an adequate force, intrusted to a leader of ordinary 
skill and knowledge of the country, would soon have deprived him of 
every rood of territory. But circumstances, stronger than the arms and 
pride of M'Murrough or the anger of Richard, now interfered. 

Richard remained in Dublin, and was engaged in the arrangements 
for the vindication of his authority, and the indulgence of revenge. 
But his power was come to its end; and he was already devoted to the 
hapless fate which he was meditating for an inferior. The continued 


prevalence of stormy weather had for some weeks prevented all intelli- 
gence from England; at length it came, and he learned that he was 

The story of his return, and the sad particulars which followed, 
belong to English history, and are known to the reader. 

Of the subsequent history of this chief we find but occasional tracks 
at remote intervals. In the following reign, during one of those occa- 
sional fits of vigour which a little retarded the decline of the English 
pale, his obstinate disaffection received a transient check. He ex- 
ulted in the reputation of having alone, of all his fellow-countrymen, 
held out against the force and power of the English, and having foiled 
the power of the king at the head of thirty thousand men. This was 
the more galling to the English, as his territory lay within the pale. 
He was the only chief who refused to make submission to the duke of 
Lancaster; and as such submissions were in few instances more than 
nominal, he found no difficultyin seducing many of the others to join him. 
At the head of these he defied the government. Stephen Scrope, who 
was at the time deputy to the duke, called a parliament in Dublin, 
which was adjourned to Trim, to consider the best means for the defence 
of the country. The Irish barons Ormonde, Desmond, the prior of 
Kilmainham, and other nobles and gentlemen, joined such troops as 
they could collect, and marched against M'Murrough. The whole 
force of these leaders was but slight, and the Irish chief was enabled 
to present a formidable resistance. The first encounter was seemingly 
doubtful, and the little army of the English was compelled to give way 
before the impetuous onset of M'Murrough's host ; but the steadiness 
of the English soon turned the foaming and roaring current of a 
tumultuous onset, and the Irish fled before them. O'Nolan and his 
son were taken, and many slain. But the English were prevented from 
following up their fortune. Accounts reached them on the field of other 
disturbances in the county of Kilkenny: they were obliged to make a 
forced march against O'Carrol, whom they slew, with eight hundred 
of his men ; but M'Muirough was nothing the worse. A defeat was 
nothing to the Irish chief while he could save himself; his army was 
a mob that easily collected and scattered. 

The power of the English was now far on the wane ; their moments 
of vigour were desultory, and their effects were more than counteracted 
by the lengthened intervals of neglect and weakness. Henry IV. 
appears to have been both careless and ignorant about the interests of 
the Irish settlers; and the wisdom and valour of the best governors 
and deputies were unable to obtain more than a respite from the ruin 
that was coming on with uniform progress. 

Talbot, lord Furnival, came over ; and to show, in a very forcible 
point of view, what might be done by skill and prudence with adequate 
means, without any force but what could be raised among the inhabi- 
tants of the pale, he managed by judiciously directed and alert move- 
ments to repress the insubordination of the Irish chiefs. And there 
cannot be a more unequivocal test of the efficacy of his conduct, than 
the submission of M'Murrough, who gave up his son as a hostage. 

The remainder of M'Murrough's life was probably spent in quiet. 




DIED A. D. 1552. 

IN August, 1534, Sir William Brabazon was appointed vice-trea- 
surer and receiver-general of Ireland; and was for the eighteen years 
following ihe most distinguished person there for his eminent services, 
and his brave and steady conduct in various trying situations. 

In 1535, he distinguished himself greatly by his resistance to the 
mad proceedings of Lord Thomas Fitz-Gerald, in the country round 
Naas. Allen and Aylmer, in a joint letter* to Secretary Cromwell, 
mention that but for Brabazon's conduct on that occasion, the whole 
country from Naas to the gates of Dublin, had been burnt ; " which 
had been a loss in effect irrecuperable." 

The following year, O' Conor Faly made a destructive inroad upon 
Carbery, in the county of Kildare, but was at once checked by Sir 
William Brabazon and the chancellor, who marched into Offaly, where 
they committed equal devastation in the lands of O' Conor who was 
thus compelled to return home, on which a peace was presently con- 

In 1539 Brabazon was, with the chancellor and master of the rolls, 
appointed a commissioner for receiving the surrenders of the abbeys, 
and the granting of the necessary pensions for the maintenance of the 
abbots and fraternities by whom they were surrendered ; and in 
1543, he was appointed lord justice. At this time the king's style 
was altered from lord to king of Ireland, and the new official seals 
were sent through him to the respective officers by whom they were 

He was again called to the government in 1546, and maintained 
his character by successful expeditions in which he reduced a danger- 
ous combination of O'More and O' Conor Faly, whose territories he 
laid waste, forcing O'Conor to seek refuge in Connaught. 

On the accession of Edward VI., being nominated of the Irish privy 
council, at the special desire of that king, who, at the same time, ex- 
pressed his sense of his long and eminent service, Brabazon suggested 
the effective repair and occupation of the castle of Athlone, and had 
the charge of this measure, so important to the province of Connaught, 
committed to himself. The military importance of this place had been 
recognised so early as the reign of John, when the castle is said to 
have been built. Standing on the only part of the Shannon where this 
river is fordable for thirty miles, and commanding the territories on 
either side, this town obviously presented the most important advantages 
for a magazine, and central position in the western country. Under 
Brabazon, repairs were made, and additions, which were continued in 
the reign of Elizabeth. This service was rendered difficult by the 
strenuous opposition of the neighbouring Connaught chiefs. 

In 1549, Brabazon was again called to the head of the Irish gx>- 

* State Papers, Paper xcv. p. 260. 


vernment by the election of the council, and during his administration 
performed many important and laborious military services, among 
which may be specified his expedition against Charles Kavenagh M'- 
Art, whom he proclaimed a traitor, and having got 8000, and four 
hundred men from England, he attacked him in his own lands, and 
dispersed his soldiers with considerable slaughter; so that Kavenagh 
was soon after compelled to come to Dublin and submit himself to the 
council, publicly renouncing his title of M'Murrough, and surrender- 
ing large tracts of his estates. 

Sir William Brabazon died at Carrickfergus in 1552. His heart was 
buried with his English ancestors in Eastwell, and his body in St 
{Catherine's church, Dublin, where there was a long Latin inscription 
upon a monument, which has been removed in rebuilding the church ; 
and an English inscription summing the above particulars, upon his 
gravestone. He was ancestor to the earls of Meath. 


DIED A. D. 1550, OR A. D. 1551. 

THE reader of ancient Irish history may recollect to have met the 
name of M'Gil Patrick, prince of Upper Ossory, among the most 
valiant opponents of the first settlers in the 12th century. A still 
earlier recollection carries us back to the famous field of " Ossory's 
plain," where the ancient warriors of Munster were crossed upon their 
homeward march from the battle of Clontarf, by Magilla- Patrick and 
his men, and subdued their generous enemies with the noblest display 
of heroism that history records. 

The grandfather of the baron who is the subject of this notice, is 
also commemorated by an amusing anecdote, which is repeated by all 
the Irish historians. In 1522, this chief sent an ambassador to Henry 
VIII. with a complaint against Pierce, earl of Ormonde. The 
ambassador met king Henry on his way to chapel, and delivered his 
errand in the following uncouth sentence : " Sta pedibus, Domine 
Rex ! Dominus meus Gillapatricius me misit ad te et jussit dicere, 
quod si non vis castigare Petrum Rufum, ipse faciet bellum contra te" 

The son of this chief, Barnard Fitz-Patrick, made his submission in 
1537, to the commissioners of Henry VIII. They entered into inden- 
tures with him to make him baron of Cowshill, or Castleton, with a 
grant of the lands of Upper Ossory, at the annual rent of three pounds 
to the king, which agreement was carried into effect by a patent, 
dated llth June, 1541. His first wife was a daughter of Pierce, earl 
of Ormonde, the "Petrum Rufum" of his father's complaint. By her 
he left a son, Barnaby, who succeeded him as second earl; and who 
was eminently distinguished for bravery, and for his prudent and hon- 
ourable conduct as a public man. 

This Barnaby was the distinguished friend and favourite of Edward 
VI., who wrote him many affectionate letters, still extant, while he 
was in France, where he served as a volunteer in the king of France's 
army. Afterwards, when he returned from France, he signalized his 
valour in England, in Wyat's insurrection; and in 1558 was knighted 


by the duke of Norfolk for his distinguished services at the siege of 

An extract from a letter of the lord deputy Sidney to the Irish 
council, written while he was at Waterford, affords an honourable tes- 
timony of this lord : " Upper Ossorie is so well governed and defended 
by the valour and wisdom of the baron that now is, as saving for 
surety of good order hereafter in succession it made no matter if the 
county were never shired, nor her majestie's writ otherwise current 
than it is, so humbly he keepeth all his people subject to obedience 
and good order."* Under this impression, so honourable to the lord 
of Upper Ossory, the lord deputy made him lord lieutenant of the 
King's and Queen's counties, and the neighbouring country ; through- 
out which the same good order was preserved, so that the turbulent 
chiefs of those districts were thoroughly repressed. 

One of those chiefs whose insurrectionary sallies he had for many 
years controlled, Rory Oge O'More, having burnt Naas and other 
towns, was proclaimed by the government. As the baron of Upper 
Ossory was his most formidable foe, this chief made a characteristic 
effort to destroy him: he sent a person to the baron, who pretended 
to give him private information of the movements of O'More, and 
described the place where he might be surprised with a large prey 
and a small force, among the woods. The baron knew the rebel chief's 
character, and the ways of the country, and suspected the truth. The 
information was not, however, to be neglected, so he took with him a 
strong party, and when he approached the woods, he sent in thirty 
men to try the way. O'More seeing this, thought to mask his real 
force by appearing with an equal number, leaving the rest of his men 
in ambush. This well devised manoeuvre was, however, defeated by the 
impetuosity of the baron's men, who instantly charged the enemy and 
scattered them; in the confusion O'More received a sword through 
his body, and was despatched. The reward of a thousand marks had 
been offered for O'More's head; this sum was offered to the baron by 
the council, but he refused to accept more than one hundred marks as 
a reward for his men. This occurrence happened in 1578. 

In the following year, the baron attended the lord deputy into 
Munster against James Fitz-Maurice; in consideration of which, 
Lodge tells us, he received a pension with other compensations which 
showed a high sense of his services. Sir Henry Sidney, in his instruc- 
tions to his successor, lord Grey, mentions the baron of Upper Ossory, 
with a few more, as "the most sufficient and faithful" persons he found 
in Ireland. 

This baron died 1581, leaving a daughter only; on which his titln 
and estates passed to his brother Florence, to whom he also left by 
will all his " wyle stoode," " his armour, shirts of mail, and other fur- 
niture of war, saving that which served for both the houses of Bor- 
riedge and Killenye, which, after his wife's decease or marriage, he 
wills to remain for the furniture of those two castles constantly. He 
leaves to him likewise half his pewter and brass; all his tythes in 
Ossory (except those of Aghavol bequeathed to his wife), all the plate 
left him by his father," &c., &c.f 

* Quoted by Lodge. t Lodge. 




DIED A. D. 1559. 

THE St. Legers were, for many generations, settled in the county of 
Kent; and several individuals of the family appear, during the course of 
the 15th century, to have held offices lay or clerical in Ireland. 

Sir Anthony was sent over by Henry VIII. as one of the commis- 
sioners for setting the waste lands upon the marches of the English 
pale, for 21 years, to such tenants as would improve them, and on such 
rents as might appear fair to demand, &c., with certain conditions 
framed to extend the pale and preserve the English character of its 
inhabitants. This commission is historically important, for the dis- 
tinct view which it affords of the state of the pale in the year 1537. 
We shall, therefore, have to notice it farther on in detail. It may be 
here enough for the reader to know, that the commission carried an 
inquest, by means of juries, into the several districts of the pale ; 
from the returns of this the result is a most frightful picture of exac- 
tion and petty tyranny, under the odious names of Coyne and Livery, 
and other pretences of extortion all prohibited by law. Surveys were 
also made of several estates of the greater proprietors; regulations 
of the most judicious character were decided upon in conformity with 
these, and intrusted to this commission to carry into effect. For this 
purpose they were armed with very considerable authority, and exe- 
cuted their commission with vigour and effect. They made sufficient 
inquiries as to the parties concerned in lord Thomas Fitz-Gerald's re- 
bellion to produce a salutary fear, while they refrained from an in- 
judicious severity, which might excite disaffection. They let to farm 
the king's lands, reserving the annual payments due to the exchequer ; 
and they reconciled the earl of Ormonde to the lord deputy. 

Having executed his commission, St. Leger returned to England, 
where he remained till 1540. When he was sent over as lord deputy, 
and was sworn on the 25th of July, he brought over with him Commis- 
sioners, appointed for the further prosecution of the measures already 
mentioned, which they forwarded materially by a survey of the crown 
lands. An order was transmitted to the master of the rolls and the 
archbishop of Dublin, to have the goods of every description, which 
had been the property of the late lord deputy Grey, appraised and de- 
livered into the custody of the new deputy, to hold for the king, and 
use during the royal pleasure. Grey, one of the ablest, most active, 
and in every way serviceable governors Ireland had yet known, was, 
on his return to England, by means of the malicious intrigues of his 
enemies and the reckless tyranny of Henry, most iniquitously accused, 
tried, and condemned. His conduct on the occasion was an in- 
stance of the difference between active courage and passive fortitude : 
so vigorous in military command, so brave in the field, his firmness 
was not of that high order that accompanies the hero into the horrors 
of captivity, and supports him against the wantonness of the tyrant's 
cruelty: his spirit sunk under the terror of Henry's brutality 
which he had probably been accustomed to fear and shrink from ; and 
he refused to defend himself. He was condemned and executed. Ho 


was more resolute to face death than the tyrant's bluster, and met his 
fate with heroic calmness. The principal charge against him was the 
suffering the son of Kildare, a youth of ten, to be saved from the 
general slaughter of his family. 

St Leger successfully exerted himself to infuse activity, and control 
the direction of every department and functionary of the government. 
He sent the marshal of Ireland, Sir William Brereton, to receive the 
submission of the earl of Desmond. Brereton died at Kilkenny. 
But the earl came to meet the deputy at Cahir, in the following 
January, and tendered his submission which was accepted by St Leger. 
This submission was confirmed by the delivery of the earl's son, 
Gerald, as an hostage. This earl also renounced the privilege of the 
Desmond lords to absent themselves from parliaments, and not to enter 
walled towns : a privilege which, the reader may recollect, was granted 
in 1444, to James the 7th earl. This transaction had been a con- 
siderable time in agitation. Among the State Papers of the year 
1538, a letter from St Leger, written during the time of his commis- 
sion (already noticed), mentions that the earl had delivered a hostage 
and a written engagement. And another letter, written by lord 
Ormonde in the same year, mentions evidently with a view to injure 
the deputy, (Grey.) " And after my lord deputie of his own motion, 
went with four of his company to James, earl of Desmond, and per- 
swaded him, after such a fashion, that he desired him for the love of 
God to deliver him the hostage, considering that he have written to 
the king's highness, that he had the same ; otherwise, that he was like 

to be utterly undone, and hereupon he had the hostage given 

him, who promised, that after he had shewed the same, that he should 
be delivered (back) without any hurt, losses or danger, as he was true 
knight ; which matter was done in Thomen, O'Brien's country." 

On the 13th June, 1541, Sir Anthony summoned a parliament in 
Dublin, in which it was enacted that king Henry and his successors 
should from that time bear the title of kings of Ireland.* Several 
enactments were also made for the administration of justice in ques- 
tions affecting property; and an application was made to the king for 
permission to hold the following session of the same parliament at 
Limerick, on account of the salutary effect its presence might have on 
the earl of Desmond and other chiefs in that vicinity.f At this par- 
liament also, Meath was divided into East Meath and West Meath, for 
the convenience of county jurisdiction. 

It was also in the same year, and in the administration of Sir An- 
thony, that O'Niall, and a number of other Irish chiefs, made their 
submissions, and swore fidelity to the English crown. In 1542, the 
king granted to Sir Anthony, in recompense for his many services, the 
site and precinct of the monastery of Grany, in the county of Carlow, 
with several other lands and profits in different parts of Ireland. 

In 1543, Sir Anthony was summoned over to England to give a full 
account of his government, and of the state of Ireland. His account 
was considered so satisfactory, that he was created a knight companion 

* This was followed by a coinage of groats, twopenny and penny pieces, for Irish 
circulation, having a harp on the reverse. Lodge. 

f State Papers, cccxlii. p. 311. 



of the order of the garter, and sent back as lord deputy. After four 
months' stay in England, he landed in Ireland, June, 1544, and was 
received with every mark of the public regard which had been con- 
ciliated by the justice of his administration. It had been throughout 
his principle to support the weak against the injustice of the strong; 
and whenever the case admitted, he usually took occasion to dissolve 
every ancient convention which gave a pretext for tyranny: of this 
may be mentioned as an instance, his decision between O'Niall and 
O'Donell, by which he set O'Donell free from his oppressive subjection 
to O'Niall, substituting a moderate and defined annual rent. 

Sir Anthony, in common with every other lord deputy, had to bear 
the vexatious consequences of the jealousy of the greater proprietors. 
Of these the earl of Ormonde was then at the head. The depres- 
sion of the Geraldine faction, and especially of the house of Kildare, 
had given a great preponderance to the Butlers whose hereditary 
prudence had preserved them from the incitements by which other 
chiefs had been tempted into many a fatal step. Sir Anthony, feeling 
strongly the great want of means which limited and defeated his best 
efforts, seems to have determined to increase the revenue by tributes 
to be levied upon the country. The allowance from England* was 
quite inadequate, and the Irish revenue was insufficient to supply the 
deficiency. The means adopted by St Leger were, however, unpopu- 
lar, and gave a handle to the factious hostility of the earl of Ormonde. 
This earl, after offering all the resistance in his power, at last accused 
the deputy of treason: the deputy retorted the accusation, and both 
parties were summoned over to England, and their accusations investi- 
gated by the privy council. But they were found to be vexatious, and 
both parties were dismissed. 

Sir Anthony returned and resumed his government, which was con- 
tinued to him at the accession of king Edward VI. In the following 
year his activity was employed by the restlessness of the Irish chiefs. 
These petty insurrections are in few cases worth detail. O' Conor 
Faly and O'More received a sanguinary overthrow from his arms, 
while they were plundering the county of Kildare ; the O'Byrnes were 
attacked and dispersed. And some time after, receiving a reinforce- 
ment from England, of 600 foot and 400 horse, under captain general 
Bellingham, he invaded Leix and Offaly, and proclaimed O'Conor and 
O'More traitors. Their followers were routed and dispersed ; and being 
left defenceless, these two powerful chiefs were reduced to the neces- 
sity of coming in with their submission. Sir Anthony took them with 
him to England, where, by his desire, they were pardoned, taken into 
favour, and had handsome pensions. The high sense entertained of 
these services of Sir Anthony was shown by large English grants : he 
received a grant of the manor-house of Wingham Barton, Bersted, an 
appendant to the manor of Leeds Castle, with the fee of one of the 
parks of Leeds Castle, with two manors, Eastfarbon and Bentley, in 
the county of Kent, where his own property lay. 

In the mean time, Edward Bellingham, who had already distin- 
guished himself in Ireland, was sent as lord justice; and St Leger 

* ,5000 per annum. 
2 A 



remained in England till 1550: he then returned to Ireland with in- 
structions to call a parliament. On this occasion, the annalists men- 
tion one of those incidents which were at this time becoming more 
frequent, and which must impress the reader with a sense of the grow- 
ing improvement of the condition of the settlement. Charles Kave- 
uagh MacArt came before this parliament with his submission, con- 
senting not only to renounce the title of Macmurrough, but giving up 
large tracts of land, and submitting to the limitation of his powers 
as chief or " captain of his nation." 

On the 6th of February, an order for the reading of the liturgy of 
the church of England came over, in the name of Edward VI. On 
which the lord deputy convened an assembly of the Irish ecclesiastics 
of every order, to which he intimated the king's pleasure. To this 
announcement, Dowdal, the archbishop of Armagh, offered the most 
resolute opposition. The deputy, nevertheless, determined to carry 
the point: he was supported by Browne, archbishop of Dublin, and 
the other prelates; and on the following Easter Sunday, the English 
liturgy was publicly read in Christ Church. Dowdal was deprived, 
and withdrew from the kingdom, and the primacy was annexed to the 
see of Dublin. 

Soon after, Archbishop Browne having some discontent against the 
deputy, had recourse to the common complaint of treason, which was 
then resorted to on the most frivolous grounds as the most efficient 
instrument of party hostility, and strongly indicates the weakness of 
government, and the low civilization of the aristocracy and prelacy 
of the time. St Leger was recalled to clear himself. And as he was 
again sent over by queen Mary, it is to be inferred that the charges of 
the archbishop were merely vexatious. He was not, however, allowed 
to hold the government long. Queen Mary, with a feeble intellect and 
a tender conscience, influenced by her own superstition and the craft of 
others, soon displayed that inflamed spirit of persecution which for a 
time filled the kingdom with horrors till then and since unknown : and 
a change of policy beginning in England, where it was opposed to the 
spirit of the nation, was quickly extended to Ireland where it was con- 
genial. The Irish nation, the last to adopt the errors of the church 
of Rome, were as slow to turn from them at the dictate of a prince. 
And it is not likely that under the new government, a deputy, who, 
like St Leger, had mainly contributed to effect the changes of the last 
two reigns, could be acceptable to either queen or people. He had 
seized the abbey lands for Henry carried into effect important regu- 
lations of church preferment persuaded the Irish chiefs to renounce 
the church of Rome, and enforced the English liturgy. And such merits 
could not fail to be unfavourably recollected. His high reputation as 
a governor made it, however, inexpedient to remove him without some 
shadow of complaint. A complaint in keeping with the spirit of his 
accusers was found. It was represented that in the former reign he 
had aimed to ingratiate himself with the government by ridiculing the 
sacred mystery of transubstantiation. On this ground he was recalled 
in 1556. He defended himself so well, from various charges which his 
enemies brought against him, that his friends in Ireland looked for his 
return. But he adopted a wiser course. Having obtained a discharge 



from all future service in Ireland, he retired to Ulcomb in Kent, the 
seat of his ancestors, where he died in 1559. 



A. D. 1215. 

OF the secondary class of Irish chieftains, who lived in this period, 
nothing is distinctly known, but as their names are occasionally brought 
into historical distinctness by their occurrence in the feuds, battles, 
and rebellions of the time. Amongst these casual notices there occurs 
muck to excite regret that more abundant and distinct information 
cannot be found in any unquestionable forms ; as it must be admitted 
that, unless in the point of military skill, the little we can discover of 
their actions may bear a not discreditable comparison with the most 
renowned and successful of their invaders. The characteristic features 
are, indeed, in some respects, so different, that such a comparison can 
hardly be made without the suspicious appearance of over-refining. 
But a closer inspection must remove something of this difficulty; 
because, when we scrutinize the conduct of our English barons to find 
the true indication of the virtues ascribed to chivalry, unfavourable 
allowances are to be largely made for the action of influences arising 
from their position as conquerors, holding their territories by continued 
violence, engaged incessantly in small yet irritating hostilities, possessed 
of enormous power, and tempted by constant opportunities to enlarge 
it. If, among the native chiefs, there occurs little that can be viewed 
with less reproach, equal allowances must be made on the score of the 
similar pernicious influences; while some indulgence must be thrown 
into the scale for the natural workings of pride and resentment. The 
comparison, indeed, has little to recommend it; its best points, on 
either side, are scarcely to- be ranked under the predicament of virtues ; 
but the lower the level on the scale of civilization, to which either side 
must be referred, the more signal are the examples of prudence and 
honour of which individual instances occur from time to time. 

The main difference consists rather in the different means which we 
have of attaining to any thing of distinct knowledge of the personal 
history of the individuals of either class. The Irish chiefs have their 
record in a class of writers who, of all that ever held the pen of history, 
have left least information to after times. Barely confined to the dry 
mention of a fact, in the fewest words, and without description or 
detail, their accounts are nothing more than the brief entry of a chrono- 
logical table. It is only incidentally that their names and actions occur 
in the diffuse page of Cambrensis, who, with all his misconceptions and 


prejudices, is the only historian from whom either the detail or colour 
of the time can be known, so far as regards Irish history. Of the 
English barons, we have abundant means of tracing the genealogy and 
verifying the biography in the more distinct records and documents of 
the English history of the same period ; while of the Irish, we can only 
pretend to be so far distinct as their intercourse with the English 
barons places their names and actions in a clear point of view. 

Such are the reasons why we have found it convenient to confine our 
plan, so far as respects these illustrious persons, to such of them as 
have a prominent place in the history of the English ; and of these, to 
that portion of their history which thus appertains to the history of 
the settlement. 

Among these, a prominent place cannot be denied to the O'Nialls 
of Tyrone. Of these, among the first whose names occur in this 
period may be mentioned that chief of Tyrone, Hugh, who had nearly 
fallen a victim to the cause of Cathal O'Connor, when he was deprived 
of his kingdom by De Burgo, in favour of his rival Carragh. To the 
circumstances of this part of his life we shall have to revert; worsted 
in the field by De Burgo, he was deposed by his angry subjects, and 
another chieftain of his family elected. 

This chieftain fell in the action, which soon followed, with the people 
of Tir Connel ; but a considerable time elapsed before O'Niall regained 
his rights. In this he succeeded by means easily conjectured, but of 
which we have no detail ; and some time elapses before we again meet 
him on the occasion of king John's visit to Ireland, in 1210. On this 
occasion, it is mentioned that he refused to present himself before the 
king, unless on the condition of being secured by two hostages for his 
safe-conduct. The terms of his submission to the English crown were 
then settled apparently to his own satisfaction, and he was peaceably 
dismissed; but, with the characteristic inconsistency of his countrymen, 
he no sooner found himself secure in his own territory, than he dis- 
missed all idea of submission and spurned a demand of hostages from 
the king. The consequences of this boldness were averted by the 
timidity and feebleness of John, whose spirit was not roused by a bold 
defiance from the chief, as he marched through his territory. His 
chastisement was committed to the garrisons on the frontiers of the Eng- 
lish districts, but the force, on either side, was too nearly balanced for 
any decided result ; and this the more so, as the English, few in num- 
ber and unprepared for extended operations, were confined to the defen- 
sive. O'Niall had the advantage of selecting the occasion and point 
of attack, and generally contrived to obtain some petty advantage, too 
slight to have any consequence, but sufliqient to be exaggerated by the 
pride and jealous enthusiasm of his people and the magnifying power 
of report, into the name of victory. With the aid of the neighbouring 
chiefs, more decided results might have followed from the pertinacious 
hostility of this spirited chief; but the neighbouring chiefs were 
engaged in mutual strifes and animosities. 

The next incident in which he is to be traced is in a combination 
with Hugh de Lacy, in which he gave assistance to that ambitious and 
turbulent chief, in his attempts to possess himself of some territory 
belonging to William, earl Marshall. Not many years after, his in- 


fluence is apparent in the election of Tirlogh O'Connor, on the death of 
Cathal an election which was defeated in favour of another brother, 
of which we shall have occasion to speak. 

Of the death of Hugh O'Niall, we have no means of fixing the precise 
date ; but from those we have noticed, the time of his appearance on 
the scene of Irish politics maybe somewhat between 1190 and 1215. 

There are some curious remains of the ancient rank and grandeur 
of this family, of whom we shall have to notice some of the descendants. 
The Dublin Penny Journal, to which we have already been indebted 
for valuable information on Irish antiquities, gives a woodcut of the 
coronation chair of one of the branches of this family the O'Nialls of 
Castlereagh* ; and in the same place mentions, that " there was, and 
probably still is, another stone chair on which the O'Nialls of Tyrone, 
the chief branch of the family, were inaugurated. It is marked in some 
of our old maps, under the name of the " stone where they make the 
O'Nialls." In the same page of this work, there is also a curious re- 
presentation of the ancient arms of the family : a " bloody hand, from 
an impression of the silver signet ring of the celebrated Turlogh 
Lynnoch. It was found, a few years ago, near Charlemont, in the 
county of Armagh."* 


DIED A. D. 1558. 

THE name of O'Niall has a place of no mean distinction in every 
chapter of the history of Ireland. But it is the main difficulty of the 
present portion of our labour, that while events, scarcely historical in 
their nature, are crowded together on every page, we have, on the 
contrary, a lamentable absence of all the personal detail which might 
be looked for among records so minute and frivolous, that they seem 
rather to be the material for personal than for national history. The 
descendants of these renowned Irish kings, the heroes of the poets and 
chroniclers of our first period, appear in the subsequent periods as the 
actors in some slight transaction, or persons of some curious tale, and 
disappear without any satisfactory trace of their previous or subsequent 
course. It is mostly, only from the change of name, that it is to be 
inferred, that the father has died and the son succeeded. This ob- 
scurity, instead of diminishing, increases as we advance to later ages; 
so that it is easier to give the full details of the history of the hero of 
the nine hostages than of his descendant, who flourished among the 
sons of little men at an interval of thirty generations. 

In every reign, the representative of the Tyrone O'Nialls is found 
among the more powerful opponents of the pale, often the leaders of 
formidable insurrections of the native forces ; often yielding and swear- 
ing fealty ; often again in arms, and among the enemies or pensioned 

* Vol. i. p. 208. The monument here mentioned has been purchased by R. C. 
Walker, Esq. of Rath Carrick. 


protectors of the pale. They assume, however, in the reign of Henry 
VII., a new character, by their alliance with the princely house of 
Kildare. As the authentic portion of the family history of this race 
is confined to notices insufficient for the purpose of biography, we shall 
here mention a few particulars about some of the immediate ancestors 
of the first earl of Tyrone. Con O'Niall was married to the sister of 
the eighth earl of Kildare ; and, from the time of that great man's eleva- 
tion to the administration of Irish affairs, he gave his powerful support to 
the English. He was, in 1492, murdered by his brother, Henry, who, in 
turn, was murdered, in 1498, by the sons of his victim, Con and Tirlogh. 
This Tirlogh was thus raised to his father's rights. In 1501, he had 
a battle with the Scots, near Armagh, whom he defeated, slaying about 
sixty soldiers,* and four captains. " A son," says Ware, " of the laird 
of Aig, of the family of the MacDonnels, and four sons of Colley 
MacAlexander." As this battle was on Patrick's day, it is doubtful 
how far it can be properly regarded as an affair of enmity. We find 
no account of the death of this chief: but he was succeeded, within a 
few years by Art O'Niall, whom we find receiving aid from the earl of 
Kildare, in 1509, when he was seized and imprisoned by the rival 
branch of the O'Nialls. Of Art we have nothing very memorable to 
tell: he died in 1519, and was succeeded by his brother, Con Boccagh, 
who was raised by popular election. This chief was not long at the 
head of his sept, when Thomas Howard, earl of Surrey, was sent to 
Ireland as deputy, in 1520. Con was, at the time, engaged in an in- 
cursion into Meath; but, hearing that Surrey was on his march against 
him with an overwhelming force a thousand English, and the select 
men of Dublin he became discouraged, and retreated into Ulster. 
Thither Surrey did not think fit to pursue him, as he was quite unprovid- 
ed for so prolonged a campaign ; and he therefore returned to Dublin. 
O'Niall, however, clearly saw, that he had not himself any force to be 
relied on, if the English governor should think fit to follow into 
the north ; with this feeling, he sent letters to Surrey, offering entire 
submission, on the condition of being taken into favour ; and offering 
to serve the king faithfully. To this Surrey agreed; he had, indeed, 
little if any choice. O'Niall was not aware of the penurious means 
allowed for the maintenance of the Irish government, by Henry VIII. 
The celebrated field of the cloth of gold was held in the same year, 
with all its well known circumstances of lavish cost ; but the liberality 
of Henry was confined to his pleasures, and his love of ostentation. 
There was, however, good reason to fear the wisdom and military talent 
of Surrey, who, notwithstanding his difficulties contrived in August 
1520 to march into O'NiaU's country, on which O'Niall came in, 
with other Irish chiefs of the north, and submitted; or as king Henry 
describes it in his own communication to Surrey, " according to their 
natural duty of allegiance, have recognised us as their sovereign lord," 
&c. Sir John Wallop had been sent over with this intelligence to the 
king, who in answer states to Surrey, the advice of his council upon 
the government of Ireland, that the Irish chiefs should be dealt with by 
" sober waies, politique drifts, and amiable perswasions, rather than by 

* Cox. 


rigorous dealing, comminacions, or any other enforcement by strength 
or violence ; and, to be plaine unto you, to spende so moche money 
for the reduccion of that lande, to bring the Irishry in apparannce 
oonely of obeisannce, &c., &c., it were a thing of less policie, less 
advantage, and lesse effect."* 

It is more to our present purpose that we find in the same letter a 
direction to lord Surrey to knight O'Niall, " and other such lords of 
the Irishry, as ye shall thinke goode."f A complaint seems to have 
soon after (1521) been made to the English court, of O'Niall, repre- 
senting him as engaged in a formidable conspiracy for the destruction of 
the English, by the aid of a Scottish force ; and urging, as the only 
resource against this, the necessity of a strong English force being sent 
over. It was answered in the paper of instructions sent over by the 
king, that the king's engagements to foreign powers, and his " mani- 
folde quarrels with France, made it inconvenient." This is, however, 
followed by a letter from the king, in which he states, that having 
caused all inquiry to be made in Scotland, and for other reasons assign- 
ed, there is no ground for any apprehension of immediate hostility 
from O'Niall. It appears certain from the same document, that 
O'Niall had expressed his gratitude to the king himself for the honours 
conferred upon him; and the probability, suggested by every gleam 
we can obtain of his personal conduct, is, that he became a true if not 
a zealous supporter of the English. In 1523, he appears bearing the 
sword of state before the lord deputy. 

In 1525, O'Niall became involved in a war with Manus O'Donell; 
he was assisted by his kinsman, the lord deputy ; but while engaged 
in an incursion in O'Donell's lauds, his own were invaded by Hugh 
O'Niall, the chief of the rival house. On this they concluded a peace 
with O'Donell, and marched against Hugh O'Niall, whom they de- 
feated and slew.^ 

A very few years after, Con O'Niall seems to have been engaged in 
opposition to the English of the pale; and, in 1532, committed devasta- 
tions which considerably injured his kinsman, the earl of Kildare, who 
was then deputy and was suspected of having countenanced his conduct. 
Two years after, he engaged in the disturbances, which are to be here- 
after detailed in the life of the deputy's son so well known under 
the appellation of Silken Thomas. By his conduct in the " Rebellion 
of Silken Thomas," he drew upon himself the especial attention of de- 
puty lord Grey, in 1539, when his territories were invaded and sus- 
tained severe loss. 

It was in the year 1538, that the peace of lord deputy Grey's 
administration was disturbed by the very energetic efforts of the 
Roman see against the progress of the reformation. Of these, we 
shall speak fully, under a more appropriate head. Our present pur- 
pose is to mention a communication from that see to O'Niall. A 
Franciscan friar, who was sent over for the purpose of exciting the 
native chiefs to arms, was seized. Among his papers was found the 
following letter written in the name of the council of cardinals by the 
bishop of Metz : 

* Letter from Henry VIII. to Surrey Slate Paper?. f Ilj. p. 66. 
\ Cox. Ware. 


" MY SON, 

" Thou and thy fathers were ever faithful to the mother church of 
Rome. His holiness, Paul, the present pope, and his council of 
holy fathers, have lately found an ancient prophecy of one saint Lazeri- 
anus, an Irish archbishop of Cashel. It saith, that the church of 
Rome shall surely fall when the Catholic faith is once overthrown in 
Ireland. Therefore, for the glory of the mother church, the honour 
of St Peter, and your own security, suppress heresy, and oppose the 
enemies of his holiness. You see that when the Roman faith perisheth 
in Ireland, the see of Rome is fated to utter destruction. The council 
of cardinals have, therefore, thought it necessary to animate the 
people of the holy island in this pious cause, being assured, that while 
the mother church hath sons of such worth as you, and those who 
shall unite with you, she shall not fall, but prevail for ever in some 
degree at least in Britain. Having thus obeyed the order of the 
sacred council, we recommend your princely person to the protection 
of the Holy Trinity, of the Blessed Virgin, of St Peter, St Paul, and 
all the host of heaven. Amen." 

O'Niall, already irritated by the lord deputy's warfare upon his 
territory, and easily inflamed by representations so adapted to his 
character -which did not fail to reach him through many efficient 
channels entered with violence into the views suggested by the Romish 
emissaries. He was joined by Manus O'Donell, and many other of 
the native chiefs. The clergy exerted themselves to the utmost of 
their power to inflame the pride of the chiefs, and the passions of 
all ; and a strong confederacy was quickly raised. At the head of the 
formidable insurrection thus levied, Con O'Niall marched into the 
pale, committing ravage, and denouncing vengeance against the enemies 
of St Peter, and the chiefs of the holy island. Their hostilities 
terminated in destruction and plunder. Halting near Tara, O'Niall 
reviewed his numerous forces; after which they separated to their 
provinces congratulating themselves on an amount of spoil, which in 
their eyes constituted victory over their enemies. 

In the mean time, lord Grey, though unprepared either to repel 
or take advantage of this inroad, was not idle. He collected his force, 
far disproportioned in number, but still more preponderant in material. 
He obtained a small reinforcement from England the citizens of 
Dublin and of Drogheda flocked with ready zeal to his standard and 
the inhabitants of the pale, whose resentment and scorn had been 
excited by the depredations and unwarlike conduct of O'Niall and his 
confederacy, showed more than their usual alacrity in contributing 
their exertions for their own defence. 

When joined by Sir William Brereton, lord Grey led his army into 
Meath where he came up with a considerable body of the Irish insur- 
gents, on the banks of a river at a place called Bellahoa. There was 
danger and difficulty in passing, but little in routing the host of 
Irish chiefs. The accounts of these encounters, though sufficiently 
authentic as to the main result, are yet too perplexed in most of their 
incidents to enable us to offer any detail that we feel to be satisfactory. 

O'Niall appears to have pursued a temporizing course, the policy of 
which was to gain time and ward off immediate consequences, by 


professions, treaties, and pledges, to which he attached no weight 
and which deceived nobody who knew the Irish chiefs; they were yet 
entertained with some appearance of trust by the English court, and 
also gave a temporary pretext to his supporters and friends. When 
he possessed the means of resistance he respected no pledges ; but when 
discomfited, his ready refuge was submission. Hence, the numerous trea- 
ties and the broken appointments, which it would be alike tedious and 
unprofitable to particularize. In the year we have been noticing, we 
are enabled to ascertain from the correspondence published by the 
State Paper committee,* that he occupied a large share of the atten- 
tion of government, of which the above remarks will be found to be a 
faithful description. We, therefore, pass to the year 1 542, when a more 
decided turn in the course of this powerful chief's life took place. 

In a letter, dated the 24th August, 1542, the lord deputy and 
council acquaint the king that O'Niall had come to Dublin offering 
to go to England to visit the king, if they would supply him with 
money for the purpose; and affirming his own entire want of means, 
and adding, that " considering his good inclinations which were beyond 
all men's expectation," they would endeavour to supply him for this 
important purpose. O'Niall made his visit, and was most graciously 
received ; his arrival was, however, preceded by a communication, 
expressive of due penitence for all his past offences, with strong 
professions of submission for the time to come. Asking pardon, and 
" refusing my name and state, which I have usurped upon your grace, 
^against my duty, and requiring your majesty of your clemency to give 
me what name, state, title, land, or living, it shall please your highness ; 
which I shall acknowledge to take and hold of your majesty's mere 
gift, and in all things do hereafter, as shall beseem your most true 
and faithful subject." 

King Henry created him earl of Tyrone, and gave him the " country 
of Tyrone." The patent limits the earldom to Con O'Niall for life, 
with remainder to his son Matthew intail male. Matthew was by the 
same instrument created baron Duncannon. This Matthew was an 
illegitimate son ; and his right of succession was forcibly disputed by 
other members of the family, which disturbed the old age of his father, 
and renewed the troubles of the country. A paper written by the secre- 
tary Wriothesly, as quoted in the volume of State Papers, from which we 
have chiefly drawn this notice, gives some curious details of O'Niall's 
investiture. " A paper remains in the hand-writing of secretary 
Wriothesly, noting the presents to be made to O'Niall on this occasion, 
among which were robes of state, and a gold chain of the value of 
100. And it appears by the register of the privy council, that the 
earl of Oxford was summoned to attend the king at Greenwich, on 
Sunday, 1st of October, to make a sufficient number of earls for 
O'Niall's investiture to that dignity; and, that as a further mark 
of favour, Mr Wiatt and Mr Tuke were, on the 3d of October, ap- 
pointed to conduct the earl of Tyrone, [&c. &c.] on the morrow to do 
their duties to the young prince Edward." The earl, on this occa- 
sion, renounced the name and style of O'Niall, engaged that he and his 

* State Papers, from 1538 to 1540, Vol. ii. State Papers, vol. ii. Paper ccclxxix. 


followers should assume the English dress, manners, customs, and 
language, and submit to English law. This arrangement may evi- 
dently be looked on as the commencement of a most important revolu- 
tion in the state of Ireland; as it was followed by a like submission 
under all the same conditions on the part of other great chiefs, whom 
the gracious reception experienced by O'Niall encouraged to pursue a 
course, of which the honour and advantage was now becoming yearly 
more and more apparent. The course of events had been, during the 
whole of the reign of Henry, such as to show that sooner or later all 
pertinacious opposition to the progress of English dominion must be 
swept away ; and although, as ever happens, the bulk of proprietors and 
petty chiefs looked no further than the shape and colour of the passing 
moment, sagacious or informed persons, whose means of knowledge 
were more extensive, saw and acted on the principle of securing 
themselves against changes likely to come. The dream of regaining 
a barbarian independence was roughly shaken. 

The new earl and he was at the time at the head of the native 
chiefs, for power and possession was on his return sworn of the 
privy council in Ireland. O'Brien, O'Donell, Ulich de Burgho, and Des- 
mond, soon followed, made the same renunciations, and received the 
same favours. 

The next occurrence, of sufficient moment for notice, exhibits the 
advantageous operation of these arrangements upon the state of the 
chiefs who had thu^ submitted. The earl of Tyrone, and some others 
among the Ulster chiefs, having fallen into disputes amongst them- 
selves, instead of entering on a brawling war to decide their differ- 
ence by the plunder and murder of their dependents, they came up 
to Dublin to lay their complaints before the lord lieutenant and 

The earl of Tyrone seems, however, to have fallen under suspicion 
not long after. In 1551 (5 Ed. VI.), he was detained in Dublin for 
some months by lord lieutenant Crofts, on the apprehension of dis- 
turbances in Ulster. It is evident that the ties of ancient habit and 
hereditary pride must have long retained an influence beyond the force 
of any other ; but the earl was now become an old man, and probably 
felt the civilizing influence of that prudent season of life. Younger 
hands, too, were already grasping for his honours and possessions; 
and the growing force of British law must have assumed the aspect of a 
shelter and security against the unregulated violence of native ambi- 
tion and turbulence. The occasion of the earl's embarrassment with 
the lord lieutenant was in fact the result of contention among his 
descendants, and the unjust and dangerous disposition which he had 
made of the succession to the inheritance. Matthew, lord Duncannon, 
his recognised heir, was not only an illegitimate son; but common 
rumour, and the general opinion of the people, had long questioned 
his paternity, and it was said that he was the son of a smith. Indig- 
nant at a preference so questionable, the legitimate sons of the earl 
began to plot against the baron Duncannon, and partly succeeded in 
estranging from him the affection of the earl. Duncannon conceived 
the safest and surest resource would be to make common cause with 
the government. For this purpose he complained to the lord lieuten- 


ant, assuring him that his father and his brothers were leagued with 
the hope of throwing off their allegiance to the king, and re-asserting 
their independence. Upon this it was, that the earl was detained in 
close custody in Dublin. The other sons flew to arms, and attacked the 
lands of Matthew lord Duncannon, which they plundered and laid waste. 
Matthew was assisted by the English ; but the deputy, in reliance upon 
the Irish lord's force, sent insufficient aid. The consequence was, a 
defeat sustained in an encounter with the brothers, John and Hugh, 
with a loss of two hundred slain. The war, (if we may so name it,) 
was, however, long kept up, and we shall have to notice its conse- 
quences under another head. 

The earl of Tyrone does not further appear in any important 
transaction. This contention in his family clouded the prosperity 01 
his latter days. He seems to have rested his affections on Matthew, 
baron Duncannon, who, it is probable, was not his son ; and it was 
with impatient resentment he witnessed the successful encroachment 
of John O'Niall, whose active and turbulent disposition allowed no rest 
to Ulster. At length, having contrived to seize the person of Matthew, 
he put him to death. The old earl, whom he imprisoned, and \vlio had 
put his whole heart into the contest, died 'of the shock. 


KILLED A. D. 1567. 

ALL history which bears any relation to the events of modern 
times, is apt to be popularly viewed through a medium coloured 
by party; and it cannot well be otherwise: for it is from this that 
principles of interpretation, and even habits of thinking, are mainly 
formed. In the history of Ireland, the difficulty arising from this 
cause is much increased by the fact, that the broad principles of 
human nature, and of the constitution of society, have been dismissed 
from political speculation, and replaced by the specious but most 
illusory adoption of a mode of appeal to facts, and reference to states 
of society, which, however important they are, as furnishing subjects 
of investigation, and as illustrative of principle, have not the direct 
connexion, which is but too often implied by party, with any thing at 
present existing. So far as party politics are directly concerned, the 
evil, if such it may be called, is of small moment ; it little matters 
under what pretensions the game of faction is played on either side, 
by those who, on the pretence of reason, are only anxious to find the 
most effective weapons. But in the composition of a work such as 
the present, this evil is great and not to be disguised. However 
cautiously stated, the fact cannot fail to be regarded according to its 
weight as a political fact stated with a political view. This difficulty 
is again augmented by the circumstance, that in every statement of 
the facts of Irish history, this very bias is in a high degree observable, 
and more especially in those which are the produce of modern litera- 
ture. They alone who are by their habits of study enabled to test 
the various notices of the Irish events of Elizabeth's reign, by the most 


authentic authorities, can imagine the extent to which, without any 
direct falsehood being told, a totally opposite view of the same events 
and characters can be dressed up for the use, or to satisfy the preju- 
dices of either of the two great parties which occupy the stage of 
political life. 

When such is the fact, it is but too easily shown that while an un- 
principled writer who can consent dexterously to turn his narrative 
according to the views of a faction, will incur the certain reprehen- 
sion of those who think and feel in opposition; the unbiassed state- 
ment which is made, as all such statements should be made, in an 
impartial disregard for both, must alternately give offence to each. 
The view by which this position is illustrated must be entered upon 
more at large hereafter, in the prefatory portion of our next period. 
It is briefly this: that, in the continued struggle between human be- 
ings, ia no very high stage of moral or intellectual culture, and 
actuated by the deepest passions of human nature, there was generated 
a vast complication of errors and wrongs on either side. That usurpa- 
tion, violence, fraud, rapine, murder, breach of treaties, perfidiousness, 
and generally a disregard for all the principles of equity, and humanity, 
and good faith, find instances enough on both sides. From this 
general truth, and from the " mingled yarn" of human virtues, vices, 
and motives, it is easy, by seemingly slight omissions, to draw a 
coloured view of persons or events. 

This slight sketch of some of the leading views of our historical 
creed, has been prompted by the revisal of our chief materials for the 
few important lives with which it is our design to conclude this 

John O'Neale, more familiarly known by the Irish name Shane, was 
one of the most remarkable persons of his time ; and occupies a princi- 
pal position in the history of Ireland during the first years of Queen 
Elizabeth's reign. We have elsewhere had occasion to notice the par- 
ticulars which involved his early years in anxiety and contention. 
The influence of an illicit union had usurped the favour and regard due 
to legitimate offspring ; and the earl of Tyrone had set aside the claim 
of Shane, his eldest son by his lawful wife, for one who was known to 
be the offspring of his kept mistress, and on specious grounds affirmed 
to be the fruit of her clandestine intercourse with some low artizan. 
After frequent renewals of the family contention, which was the 
natural consequence of such arrangements, Shane, who had for some 
years occupied a leading position in the affairs of Tyrone, and in the 
civil feuds of the neighbouring chiefs, caused the lord Dungannon 
to be slain, and threw his father into confinement. The old earl sunk 
under the vexation and impatience excited by this undutiful, yet look- 
ing to the customs and spirit of that age of lawless violence, not 
quite unwarranted action. If his allegations are to be admitted, Shane 
had sustained a wrong, not likely to be meekly submitted to in any 
state of human polity. The lord justice Sidney having marched to 
Dundalk, sent for Shane, who was six miles off, to come and answer 
for himself.* Shane did not think it consistent with his safety to obey, 

* Ware, Cox. 


and it was unsafer still to refuse. In this dilemma he took a prudent 
middle course: he begged to be excused from immediate attendance, 
and invited the lord justice to be his gossip, on the faith of which tie 
he would come and submit to do all that the queen's service might de- 
mand. The compliance of a man like Sidney with this irregular pro- 
posal, may show the real power and danger attributed to Shane O'Neale. 
Sidney was entertained with the barbaric magnificence of an Irish 
prince, and stood sponsor to the child of Shane O'Neale. After the 
ceremony was completed, a conference was held between the Irish 
leader and the lord justice : and Shane justified his conduct, and as- 
serted his pretensions with temper and clearness. 

He affirmed that the lord Dungannon was not the son of the late 
earl, but that he was well known to be the son of a smith in Dundalk, 
by a woman of low degree, and born after the earl's marriage, of 
which he was himself the eldest son. It was objected that he had, 
notwithstanding, no right to assume the title, as the earl had surren- 
dered his territories to the king, and that under that surrender, the 
settlement had been made. To this it was replied by Shane, that 
according to the institutions still existing amongst the Irish, his father 
had no power to make such a surrender, having but a life-right to the 
title and territories of O'Neale; that his own claim was by election 
according to the law of tanistry. He went on to argue, that by the 
English law the letters patent were illegal, as no inquisition had 
been or could be made, as the country should for this purpose be 
made shire ground. The deputy, referring probably to the recent 
tumults in Tyrconnel, complained of his assumption of a right of op- 
pressive interference in the affairs of the northern chiefs; to this it 
was frankly replied by Shane, that he arrogated nothing beyond the 
lawful rights of his ancestors, who were the acknowledged superior 
lords of the northern chiefs. By the advice of his council, the deputy 
answered that he was sure the queen would do whatever should appear 
just; and advised O'Neale to continue quiet, until her pleasure should 
be known. He then departed, and O'Neale remained at peace during 
his administration. 

This period was unfortunately of no long continuance. Sussex 
came over to take the administration into his own hands, and held 
a turbulent parliament, in which the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs 
was to some extent effected, and the sovereignty of Elizabeth, as queen 
of Ireland, affirmed by statute. The opposition met by Sussex in this 
assembly was, however, enough to deter him from remaining, and he 
returned to England, leaving Sir William Fitz- William deputy. The 
change was unfavourable ; the times required a person of more weight. 
The efforts which had been recently made, and were still in progress, 
to introduce the reformation now happily established in England, 
where the soil had long been prepared into Ireland, where all was 
opposed to the introduction of any change founded on the advance of 
civilization, caused a violent excitement of popular feeling, and a 
dangerous activity among the priesthood of the Romish communion. 
Emissaries from Rome were at work in every quarter among the 
chiefs; and the king of Spain was already entering on the course of 
successful cajolery, by which, during the greater portion of the reign 


of Elizabeth, he contrived, with the least conceivable sacrifice of means, 
to keep up a delusive reliance on his power and assistance among the 
refractory chiefs, whose eagerness for small advantages, and blindness 
to remote consequences, were the result of their rude state; though 
the credulity with which they listened to all illusive promises has 
been proved by time to have in it something of national temper. 

Shane O'Neale, surrounded by dependants and flatterers, by nature 
disposed to insubordination strongly urged by these underhand 
agencies, and seeing the general ferment of the people, soon resolved 
to take advantage of the weakness of the administration. His first 
demonstrations were directed by keen and cherished animosity; the 
occasion which gave latitude to turbulence was favourable to revenge. 
Recollecting the humiliation which he had so recently met from the 
arms of O'Donell, he made a sudden inroad upon the territory of that 
chief, whom he seized, with his family. The chief himself he cast into 
prison, and only released him at the ransom of all his moveables of 
any value. When released from durance, Calvagh O'Donell had to 
learn that his cruel enemy had reserved a more galling humiliation 
for him than the chains redeemed so dearly; his son was retained for 
an hostage, and his wife for a mistress. Shane O'Neale, notwith- 
standing his ability and intelligence, is said to have been coarse and 
brutal in his habits; and this cruel and ungenerous conduct is quite 
reconcileable with the general descriptions of his character preserved 
by the old historians, and repeated more doubtfully by the ablest 
moderns, by all of whom he is described as one addicted to gross 
debauchery and beastly excess, the fever of which he was often fain 
to allay by having himself buried up to the shoulders in the earth. 
This account has been questioned on the specious ground of not being 
consistent with the other ascertained features of Shane's character 
his subtilty, cautious policy, his polished manners, and the great ability 
shown in conference with the lord-justice. But this is the reasoning 
of men who are more conversant with books than with life. There 
is a latitude in human character that cannot be found in annals, or in 
the necessarily contracted record of men's deeds. Any one who is 
conversant with mankind, in any class of society, can easily recall greater 
contrasts than that presented by the cunning and sensuality the 
wit and brutality the politeness and cruelty the prudence and the 
drunken intemperance of Shane O'Neale ; these qualities scarce afford 
materials for the characteristic antithesis of Irish eloquence. O'Neale's 
native intelligence and subtilty of understanding were in no way in- 
consistent with the simplicity of a barbaric chief, and still less so with 
the want of that steady regard for the principles of truth, and the 
strict duties of mercy and humanity, which scarce can be said to have 
belonged to his age ; still less again with the existence of fierce pas- 
sions and appetites. He was not without native virtues, which are 
indicated in many of his actions, but cannot be quoted in disproof of 
vices, which have been charged on strong authorities, and denied upon 

It may be admitted that the disaffection of Shane O'Neale was 
the result of injuries real or apprehended; it was at least increased 
and matured by views of policy, and by the influence of flatterers and 


advisers. His pride made him keenly alive to the appearance of slight 
or favour, and in his intercourse with the queen or her deputies, the 
influence of this sentiment is easy to be discerned. But new instruments, 
not quite so clearly traceable, were also at work; and however he may 
have contracted an occasional sense of regard for the queen, a constant 
current of opposite causes was still controlling this inclination, and 
bringing him back to the level and direction of the dispositions of an 
opposite tendency, which were the air in which he breathed. Having 
once taken a determined step into rebellion, he was quickly led to ex- 
tremities which were equally pointed out by inclination and caution. 
From the government he could only expect severe justice; but it was 
whispered by pride, and echoed by a thousand flatterers, that the 
prince of Tyrone might safely hold out for higher indulgence from an 
enemy which seemed unable to carry its anger to extremities, and even 
showed itself ready to purchase peace on the easiest terms of compro- 
mise. Thus impressed, Shane O'Neale began to breathe defiance and 
revenge against the English. His determination appeared in manner, 
conversation, and in the ferocious zeal with which he vindicated his 
hate against the slightest disposition or act which savoured of English. 
This may be illustrated by several instances : one of his followers he 
caused to be hanged for eating English biscuit, which he considered 
as a base instance of unpatriotic degeneracy. 

The queen ordered Sussex to lead his army to the north ; and O'Neale, 
who had carried fire and sword through the pale, now lent a docile 
and pliant ear to his kinsman, the earl of Kildare, who represented in 
strong terms the hopeless character of the contest in which he was 
about to embark. Shane was not on his part wanting in plausible 
allegations to give a colour to his repentance and justify the past; 
and, such was the policy of the time, his excuses were allowed. Sussex 
advised submission, and as before, promised justice. It was arranged 
that O'Neale should be suffered to retain his possession of Tyrone, 
until the parliament should have examined and decided on the validity 
of the patents granted to his father and supposed brother; if they 
should be declared void, that he should then receive possession of his 
lands by tenure from the crown, and be created earl of Tyrone. To 
this O'Neale consented, and repaired to Dublin, where he was honour- 
ably received, and made his submission in due form. While remain- 
ing in Dublin, he received intimation of a rumour that he was to be 
sent over to England, under a guard. Alarmed at this report, he took 
ship and passed over to England himself, where he presented himself 
before the queen, with a gorgeous train of his followers, arrayed in 
the rude magnificence of ancient Ulster. His guard of gallowglasses 
are described by Camden, as having their long curled locks hanging 
from their uncovered heads, their shirts stained with saffron,* having 
ample sleeves, over which were short tunics, and hairy cloaks, which, 
says the annalist, were objects of wonder to the English, not less than 

* The curious reader may desire to see the original description. " Ex Hibernia 
jum venerat Shanus O'Neale, ut quod ante annum promiserat, prsestaret, cum se- 
currigo galloglassorum sattellitio, capitibus nudis, crispatis cincinnis dependentibus, 
camisiis flavis croco, vel humana urina infectis, manicis largioribus, tuniculis bre- 
vioribus et lacernis billosis." Camd. ad. an. 1562. 


Chinese and Americans are in the present day. He was received 
with courtesy, and is described as having cast himself on his knees 
before the queen, and with a loud and wailing voice begged pardon 
for his rebellion. He was then interrogated upon the murder of the 
baron of Dungannon, and the seizure of Tyrone, to which he replied 
by the explanation already given in his meeting with Sir Henry Sid- 
ney; on which he was honourably dismissed, and returned to Ireland, 
and landed at Howth on the 25th of May. 

When Shane O'Neale went to England, lord Sussex had been 
sent for by the queen, to give a distinct account of Irish affairs, and 
Sir William Fitz- William was sworn in to govern during his absence. 
Sussex returned in July, and again took the oaths in St Patrick's 
church, the roof of Christ church having fallen in two months before, 
on the 3d of April, 1562. As O'Neale continued quiet, he was for 
some time enabled to attend to the execution of various measures for 
the improvement and security of the country. Among the chief of 
these may be mentioned the division of the reduced districts into coun- 
ties ; Annaly was called Longford ; and Connaught was divided into 
Clare, Galway, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, and Leitrim.* 

Things could not continue long in this quiet state. O'Neale was 
little the wiser for the lessons he had received from experience and a 
life of struggle. He was surrounded by followers, kinsmen and friends, 
still ruder than himself. The general atmosphere of boasting and 
barbaric pride in which he breathed, may be feebly illustrated by a 
story from Ware. " A kinsman of his (O'Neale's) named Hugh 
O'Neale, drinking in company with the collector of the archbishop of 
Armagh's revenues, at Drogheda, was heard to swear by his soul, 
that his cousin was a patient fool, and so were his ancestors, in taking 
an earldom from the kings of England, when by right themselves 
were kings. He further added, by way of question to the bishop's 
servant, ' Is it not so?' The man was glad to comply, and say it was 
so, seeing six of the Irish in the room, with their skeans by them. 
But as soon as he came to his master, Adam Loftus, he cried out, 
' Pardon me, master.' The archbishop asking him, ' Why, what hast 
thou done?' he told him the whole story; whereupon he wrote to the 
lord lieutenant of it." From this apparently trifling incident, a suspi- 
cion was strongly excited against O'Neale; on which the lord-lieu- 
tenant began preparations for an expedition into the north, which 
he made in April, 1563. He was not far on his way, when he had 
the good fortune to detect an ambuscade contrived by Shane O'Neale, 
whose party he quickly put to flight with the loss of many lives. Lord 
Sussex took a prey of four hundred black cattle, and for several days 
pursued his march, visiting Dundalk and Dungannou, till the 2d June, 
when he came to Tullahogue. Here he had an encounter with 
O'Neale's people; but they did not venture to stand the shock of the 
English, and scattered away before them into the woods. A few 
slight successes followed, until the 6th of June, when lord Sussex 
came upon and took three thousand cattle and fifteen hundred horses, 
with which he marched to Drogheda. Such a loss induced O'Neale 

Ware, ad. an. 1563. 


to listen to the voice of moderate counsel from the emissary of his 
kinsman, Gerald, earl of Kildare. He then sent to the lord-lieutenant 
his proposal of submission, and offered again to appear before the 
queen.* His submission was allowed, and once more he appeared 
with his retainers before the queen, to whom he repeated his submis- 
sion in the presence of the ambassadors of Sweden and Savoy. With- 
out placing any faith in his professions, the politic Elizabeth allowed 
her personal vanity to be soothed into complaisance by his flattery, 
and dismissed him with favour and presents, which she knew must 
have some influence upon the minds of himself and his turbulent allies 
and followers. Nor did she form a mistaken estimate of the influence 
of her munificent generosity on the mind of a barbarous chief, who 
with all his native subtilty, was a child in the ways of courts. Among 
other favours, she lent him a sum of 2500, and ordered her commis- 
sioners, Worth and Arnold, to inquire into his complaint against a 
person of the name of Smith, whom O'Neale accused of an attempt to 
poison him. 

The favour of the queen was loudly boasted by Shane, and gave 
him increased dignity in the eyes of his followers, who nevertheless 
regarded the affair rather in the light of a treaty of alliance than a 
submission. Shane's new-born zeal, though of brief duration, gave a 
strong impulse while it lasted, to his impetuous character. His fidelity 
was shown by an expedition against the islanders from the Hebrides, 
Who had long infested the north, and were in possession of some 
towns. Coming to an encounter with these, he routed them, and slew 
their general. This exploit, though not perhaps without a touch of 
the double policy that looks for the promotion of self-service in the 
pretext of duty, was received as a grateful and deserving service. 
Sir Thomas Cusack was appointed to draw up and execute an instru- 
ment of agreement on the terms previously offered by lord Sussex. This 
was confirmed by letters patent from the queen, in which his services 
were recorded, and his former failings extenuated. 

This exaltation to the pride of O'Neale soon made him troublesome 
to his neighbours, over whom he asserted and exercised a tyrannical 
jurisdiction, under the pretence of preserving the peace of the north. 
Many complaints of this nature reached Dublin, and there began to 
prevail a strong sense that he was only waiting for a favourable oppor- 
tunity to break out into rebellion. The lord-lieutenant wrote an 
account of these reports to the queen, and informed her also of the 
sedulous care with which O'Neale strengthened and disciplined his 
military force. From Elizabeth he received the following answer: 
" As touching your suspicion of Shane O'Neale, be not dismayed, 
nor let any of my men be daunted. But tell them that if he arise, it 
will be for their advantage; for there will be estates for them who 
want. Nor must he ever expect any more favour from me."f 

Lord Sussex sent a messenger to demand an explanation. O'Neale 
was prepared with a reply which indicates the secret which governed 
alike his loyalty and his disaffection. Under the declared pretext of 

* Leland appears to confound the two submissions here separately noticed, on 
the authority of Camden, Ware, &c. 

f Ware's ad. an. 1504. 
I. 2 B Ir. 


serving the queen against the Scots, the wily barbarian covered his 
real design to maintain his claim to Ulster by force. Lord Sussex 
was too clear-sighted to be deluded by the pretence, and began at 
once to put the northern borders of the pale in a state of defence. 
He issued a proclamation forbidding all military service under un- 
authorized persons, and commanding all so engaged to come in on an 
appointed day, under the penalty of treason. He also increased the 
pay of the soldiery on the northern border. He was, however, recalled 
into England, where more pressing services demanded his presence, 
and an English knight, Sir Nicholas Arnold, was sent over; but 
great complaints arising from his want of influence, and other causes, 
and the aspect of Irish affairs beginning to look alarming, it was 
thought advisable to send over Sir Henry Sidney, who had already 
been distinguished for his successful administration of Ireland. It 
was high time indeed to take the most active and wise precautions. 
Various disorders had broken out in every part of the country, and no 
common means of prudence and alertness were required to restore 
even the usual state of order. Among the precautions now taken, an 
English officer, with a strong garrison, was stationed in Derry, to curb 
the disaffection of O'Neale, whose intentions were not concealed. He 
felt resentment rather than alarm, and his pride was more roused than 
his confidence shaken, for he yet rested in ignorant reliance on the 
force he had about him, and the great deference he had received from 
friend and foe. It was at this period that his pride sustained a violent 
check from the earldom of Clancarthy being conferred on McCarthy 
More. He told the commissioners of the queen, " that though the queen 
were his sovereign lady, he never made peace with her but at her own 
seeking;" and that "she had made a wise earl of McCarthy More; 
but that he kept as good a man as he; he cared not for so mean a 
title as earl ; his blood and power were better than the best, and there- 
fore he would give way to none of them; his ancestors were kings of 
Ulster, that he. had won Ulster by the sword, and would keep it by 
the sword." On the report of Sidney, the queen sent over her vice- 
chamberlain to confer with him on the best means for the suppression 
of a rebel so daring and incorrigible. They agreed that this service 
should be prepared for during the summer months, and carried into 
effect during the following winter. 

Shane O'Neale fully resolved on trying the fate of war, yet 
cautiously avoided all appearance of open rebellion. His plan was, 
however, artless to a degree not in our own times easily conceived ; 
it was to provoke hostility by appearing in arms before fortified 
places ; and he seems to have formed the notion that thus he need not 
be involved in war with the queen until he had first gained a victory. 
This expedient was more dangerous than he imagined. After some 
mischievous irruptions upon the borders of the pale, and a feeble de- 
monstration of force in an unsuccessful attempt on Dundalk, he 
marched and encamped near Derry, in the month of October, with 
two thousand five hundred foot, and three hundred horse. Without 
attacking the town, he aimed by every insolence to draw out the 
garrison. So far he was successful. Colonel Randolph issued forth 
at the head of three hundred foot and fifty horse, and a battle took 


place, in which O'Neale was defeated and put to flight, leaving four 
hundred dead on the field. This victory was dearly purchased by the 
death of the brave Randolph. O'Neale had the assurance to com- 
plain: he remonstrated as an injured friend, against an attack which 
no direct hostility had provoked, and demanded a conference with 
Sidney, at Dundalk. The lord-deputy granted his desire ; but before 
they could meet, an accidental circumstance gave a new turn to the 
mind of Shane O'Neale. By some unlucky accident, the powder maga- 
zine was blown up in Derry, and the provisions of the garrison, as well 
as their means of defence, being thus destroyed, the soldiers Were 
obliged to embark for Dublin. The means of transport were at the 
time so defective, that one of the consequences of such a step was, that 
it became expedient to destroy the horses that they might not fall 
into the hands of the enemy. To avoid this disagreeable resource, 
Captain Harvey and his troop resolved to brave the dangers of a long 
and circuitous route through many hostile regions to Dublin. This 
they effected, and after being four days pursued by native parties 
through an enemy's country, they gained their destination without 

The accident which occasioned this retreat changed the purpose of 
O'Neale. A notion was circulated which Cox thus relates from Sullevan. 
" Mr Sullevan," says Cox, " makes a pleasant story of this, and tells 
us that St Columbkill, the founder and tutelar saint of Derry, was im- 
patient at the profanation of his church and cell by the heretics, the 
one being made the repository of the ammunition, and the other being 
used for the Lutheran worship ; and therefore, to be revenged on the 
English for this sacrilege, the saint assumed the shape of a wolf, and 
came out from an adjacent wood, and passing by a smith's forge, he 
took his mouth full of red hot coals and ran with it to the magazine, 
and fiercely spit the fire into the room where the ammunition lay, and 
so set all on fire, and forced the heretics to seek new quarters!" 

Shane O'Neale felt the advantage of being freed from the constraint 
of the garrison, and was perhaps as forcibly actuated by his super- 
stition. He was expected in vain by Sidney, who waited for him six 
days at Dundalk. 

O'Neale was at the same time strongly encouraged by the troubles 
which started up in other quarters, so as to draw away the attention 
and divide the forces of the deputy. It was reported that the earl of 
Desmond had taken the field with the intention of joining O'Neale : on 
further inquiry the report was found incorrect. Desmond was at war 
with the earl of Ormonde and other noblemen, and on the deputy's 
summons, attended on him in Dublin, and took his station with one 
hundred horse to protect the borders of the pale. The deputy was 
nevertheless compelled to march through Connaught and Munster, as 
O'Neale took occasion to invade the pale, in which he destroyed some 
castles. He next attacked Armagh, which was unprotected, and burned 
the church ; he entered Fermanagh and expelled the M'Guires, who 
had rejected his claim of sovereignty. Further, to place beyond 
doubt the nature of his designs, he again sent emissaries to Spain, at 
that time the hope of Irish insurgents. While engaged in these seem- 
ingly unequivocal proceedings, he not the less preserved the language 



of fair purpose, and endeavoured to amuse Sidney with assurance* of 
loyaltv and invitations to meeting's at which he never meant to attend. 

Sidney, of course, could not be imposed upon by a game so flimsy. 
Politics had not at that time reached the high perfection which omits 
to take facts, conduct, and the known character of men into account. 
Sidney was on the watch, and with a full comprehension of the char- 
acter of Shane, and of his real strength, was exerting his vigilance 
and sagacity to counteract him. While Shane imagined that he was 
amusing the deputy, he was simply imposing on himself. Sidney con- 
ciliated those whom the exactions and tyrannies of O'Neale had 
offended, restored those chiefs whom he had unjustly deprived, and 
re-assured those whom his menaces had terrified. He thus restored 
Calvagh O'Donell, lord of Tirconnel, and M'Guire, lord of Fermanagh. 
He received the free submission of O'Conor Don, and O'Conor Sligo, 
&c., and soon contrived to draw round O'Neale a strong circle of ene- 
mies. Shane O'Neale, in whose character desperation and pride out- 
weighed prudence, became furious, and vented his ill temper so freely, 
that his followers presently began to desert ; and in one way or other, 
between desertion and slaughter, his force became reduced to a mere 
handful of ineffective followers. 

In this dreadful extremity, he consulted with his faithful secretary, 
Neale Mac Conor, on the prudence of presenting himself to the lord- 
deputy with a halter round his neck, and throwing himself on his 
mercy. To this proposal it was replied by MacConor, that it would 
be time enough to try so dangerous an experiment when no other 
resource should be left; and advised that he should first endeavour to 
gain the Scots to his aid. Shane was persuaded. He issued letters 
proposing a general rising of the Irish chiefs, and was immediately 
proclaimed a traitor, and a day set for his adherents to surrender 
under the same penalties. 

Shane O'Neale then repaired to Clandeboy, where Alexander Mac- 
Conell, whose brother he had slain, was encamped with six hundred 
Scots. To conciliate the favour of this chief, he liberated his brother 
Surley Buy, whom he had detained in captivity since the victory 
which he had gained over his countrymen. The Scots were not to be 
conciliated by favours which were too evidently the resource of despe- 
ration, and simply saw the occasion for revenge. They, however, 
received their victim with apparent welcome, and Shane was deluded 
with all the pomp and circumstance of a reception suited to his pre- 
tensions. He had with him his secretary MacConor, and his mistress, 
the wife of Calvagh O'Donell, and a few soldiers. At the feast which 
was prepared for their entertainment, all went smoothly for a while, 
until by degrees, as the usquebagh or wine went round, the conversa- 
tion gradually stole into the language of boast and accusation, and as 
confidence grew firm, in the heat of wine, more sore and delicate subjects 
were as if by accident introduced. At last, a nephew of MacConell 
accused MacConor of having been the author of a foul and calumnious 
report that his aunt, James MacConelPs wife, had offered to marry 
Shane O'Neale, the slayer of her husband ; the secretary replied that 
if his aunt had been queen of Scotland, there could be no disgrace in 
such a marriage. Shane himself, heated with wine, boastfully main- 


tained the assertion of his secretary. The dispute grew loud, clamor- 
ous, and reproachful, and the soldiers of Shane who were present, 
took an angry part in it, till all became a scene of uproar and wild 
confusion. From words they soon came to blows, and the Scots rush- 
ing in, Shane and his secretary were slain. They wrapped their vic- 
tim in an old shirt, and cast him into a pit ; but four days after, cap- 
tain Pierce cut off his head and brought it to the lord-deputy, by 
whose command it was set up on a pole in Dublin. 


&t oust cf 


DIED 1534. 

THIS earl, it has been already mentioned, was, in 1503, during his 
father's life, appointed treasurer in Ireland, but did not succeed to 
the earldom till 1513, when his illustrious father died. He was the 
only son of his father's first marriage with the daughter of lord 

His father's death caused much perplexity; it removed the terror 
and authority of his great name : excited the hopes of the enemies of 
the pale, and threw a damp over the courage of its friends. The force 
too which he had collected, at once melted away. Under these dis- 
couraging circumstances, no expedient seemed to offer so ready a pros- 
pect of relief, as the nomination of his son and successor, Gerald, now 
lord Kildare. He was nominated lord justice by the council, until the 
king's pleasure should be known. The king appointed him lord deputy, 
He followed the active example of his father, vindicating the peace of 
the country by prompt and successful expeditions into each district 
in which any demonstration of a hostile character called for his inter- 
ference. He drove the O'Mores into the woods in 1514, and on his 
return attacked the O'Reillys, who had made an excursion against the 
English he slew Hugh O'Reilly, and razed the castle of Cavan. In 
the following year he went over to England, leaving lord Gormanston 
deputy in his place. On his return he convened a parliament. At this, 
it appears that the bills thought necessary were prepared in England, 
and sent over with directions that no other business should be entered 
upon by this parliament. The discussion of these bills, the preparation 
of which seems to have been a chief object of Kildare's visit to Eng- 
land, occupied a considerable time at least the parliament was con- 
tinued to 1517} by successive prorogations. 

In 15 1 6, this earl passed a year of signal activity. He invaded Imaly, 
slew Shane O'Toole in battle, and sent his head, after the manner of 
the time, a barbarous trophy to the lord mayor of Dublin. Ware 
mentions one of the numerous prophecies which, from time to time, 




have amused the native credulity of the simple, but imaginative Irish. 
This old prophecy foretold, that in the year 1516, the Irish nation, being 
at the lowest ebb of its prosperity, was to become then powerful and 
warlike. " The author of a book," writes Ware, " called the People's 
Welfare, gives a touch of this prophecy ; it is extant under the title of 
Ireland's Pandar"* Ireland has had Pandars enough to administer 
such illusions in the same name, and under a like pretence :f but this was 
a work of great research and practical knowledge, of which the views 
were founded on extensive and just observation, and quoted as of con- 
siderable authority. We shall have to notice Panderus again. He is 
supposed to have lived from Edward IV. to Henry VIII. 

In 1517, Kildare pursued his successes in Ulster, in battle, foray, 
^skirmish, and siege ; discomfiting the Magennises, taking Dungannon, 
and bringing back an ample spoil to Dublin. These successes were 
sadly qualified by the loss of his countess, the lady Elizabeth de la 
Zouche, who died soon after his return. This lady is mentioned by 
Ware as " commendable for her excellent qualities." She was inter- 
red at Kilcullen, near her lord's mother, (Alison Eustace.) 

Many circumstances, seemingly slight in their nature, were working 
to the disadvantage of this earl. The great rival family of Butler 
were again represented by a person of ambitious and intriguing temper. 
We have already mentioned, in our notice of Sir James Ormonde, how 
Sir Pierce Butler, having been excluded from his rights, recovered 
them by the assassination of the wrongful occupant. This Sir Pierce, 
now the earl of Ormonde, with the usual policy of his courtly 
race, pursued his ambition more by cultivating the grace of the 
English monarch and his minister the great Wolsey, than by playing 
the more dangerous and uncertain game of provincial hostilities and 
alliances pursued by his rivals. He stood high Avith the king and his 
minister, and was, it is mentioned, strongly instigated by his wife 
herself a Geraldine, and probably opposed to her kinsman with the 
implacable animosity of family hate to undermine the favour of Kil- 
dare. This earl was, like most of the lords of his race, more apt to 
lead his faction to the field, than to bow with supple grace before the 
tyrant of the English court, or administer dexterous flatteries to the 
accessible infirmity of Wolsey. 

To Wolsey, the character, conduct, and services of Kildare, were 
represented unfavourably; the representations were, it is likely, not 
without truth, but they were one-sided and partial. The services of 
Kildare were probably regulated on the common principle of public 
service, as it was understood in those days that is, with great latitude. 
In performing their public duties, the Irish barons did not lay aside 
their private interests : nor indeed was this quite possible. The whole 
tissue of the affairs of the island were interwoven with those of the 
leading barons of this great family. Nor could the earl of Kildare, 
without a political suicide, separate his interests as chief from his 
duties as viceroy. It must, therefore, have been easy for factious hos- 
tility to find matter for charges like these 1st, " That he had enrich- 
ed himself and followers by unjust seizure of the king's revenues and 

* Ware's Antiquities. 

f Panderus " Salus Populi." 



crown lands; and 2d, That he had alliance and correspondence with 
divers of the Irish, enemies to the state."* 

Though the earl was acquitted of the express charges, when in 1519 
he was summoned over to England, yet the work of enmity was not 
the less effective ; for by means of the exposure of the policy by which 
Ireland was governed, and the confused state of its interests, it was 
made plainly apparent to the English council that there were great 
objections to the administration of any Irish baron. It was, therefore, 
now resolved to send over Thomas, lord Surrey, lord high admiral of 
England, with a sufficient armed force to subdue and awe the insur- 
gent chiefs. 

During his stay in England, the earl married the lady Elizabeth 
Gray, daughter to the marquis of Dorset. This match secured him a 
powerful influence at court, and had long the effect of counteracting 
the hostility of his enemies. He was directly taken into the king's 
favour and accompanied him into France, where he was present at 
the celebrated field of the cloth of gold, held between the French 
and English kings in the same year. 

To pursue the remainder of his political course, without a violent in- 
terruption to the history of the country, we must now state some par- 
ticulars concerning the administration of lord Surrey. He was the son 
of the first duke of Norfolk, whom he afterwards succeeded as second 
duke. He came to Ireland on the 23d of May, 1520, with an army of 
a thousand men, and a lifeguard of one hundred. His first contest 
was with Con O'Niall. O'Niall had probably a natural sense of hos- 
tility towards the successor of his kinsman, Kildare, and acted with the 
design to make him uneasy in his seat, and by raising as much dis- 
turbance as he could, help to work out the proof of the useful proposi- 
tion, that none but the earl of Kildare could preserve the peace of the 
country. It seems to have been his hope to take the new governor by 
surprise ; but the alertness, and military promptness of Surrey prevent- 
ed him, and he felt it necessary to retreat into Ulster. His conduct 
is traced to the suggestion of Kildare, and the correspondence of this 
earl's enemies is filled with such complaints. It is indeed evident, 
that this was the interest of the earl at the time, and there is suffi- 
cient proof that he thought so himself. In common with the other 
great lords of the pale, he derived much of his power, and all his poli- 
tical weight from the cultivation of alliances of this nature. The 
English of the pale were protected, governed, and oppressed, by means 
of a power which, while it was wielded by their own lords, was yet 
thoroughly Irish in its composition. They were, consequently, become 
unwarlike in their habits, and unprovided with proper arms. Their great 
barons, holding, in fact, the place and power of great Irish chiefs, and 
regarded in this light by the natives, contrived to avail themselves of 
the double advantages of this twofold position. Their power and 
possessions had a foundation, in a great measure, independent of the 
English interest. The armies they led, like those they opposed, were 
tumultuary; they were sufficient to collect the plunder of a district, 
and to neutralize hostilities for the moment, and they sought no more. 

' Lodjre. 


In the confusion thus preserved, lay the secret of their strength: the 
individual was above the law. An English force adequate for the pur- 
pose, and adequately maintained, would quickly end this state of tur- 
bulent confusion and arbitrary licence. Thus, while the prospect of 
such an interference could not fail to be welcomed with delight by the 
large class which was altogether dependent on tranquil industry, 
and subject to the varied eddies of this whirlpool of perpetual move- 
ment, it could not be regarded with any complacency by the earl of 
Kildare. It may therefore be admitted, on the ground of such docu- 
mentary or inferential proofs as have been advanced by historians, that 
he adopted, at once, the obvious, yet rash and dangerous course of 
exciting hostility against Surrey's government. Accordingly, this 
nobleman soon found sufficient indications of this influence. His time 
and resources were lamentably wasted in enterprises which had no 
important result. At considerable cost, and frequent danger of his life, 
he traversed hostile provinces, and pursued the insurgent chief to his 
tower ; but a submission and an empty pledge ended the affair, until it 
next became the marauder's convenience or pleasure to ride out on a party 
of plunder. The king had exhausted his father's accumulated hoards, 
on the gorgeous tinsel of the fields of Ardres, and wrote to his lieu- 
tenant in Ireland, that " Considering thescanti tie and dear the of vitailles 
in those parties, the horsemen cannot conveniently live upon their 
wages at the said rate, [the allowance of government for their sup- 
port,] therefore be he contented that ye suffer them to take cune and 
livery, after the ancient accustumable manner there used, &c."* Such 
was the oppressive, unpopular, and illegal resource on which the 
government was thrown. From the same document it appears, that the 
complaints against Kildare had formed the chief substance of the re- 
presentations of the Irish government. The king acknowledging the 
complaint, tells the lord lieutenant and council, that, " as touching the 
sedicious practisis, conspiracies, and subtle driftes of the erle of Kildare, 
his servantes, aiders, and assisters, we have committed the examina- 
cion and trial of that matier to the moost Reverend Fader in God, our 
right entierly beloved Counsaillour, Chancellour, Cardinal and Arch- 
bishop of Yorke, &c., &c."f 

The whole interval of Surrey's administration was a succession of 
perplexing alarms, and fatiguing, and often dangerous marches, in 
which the object to be attained was by no means adequate to the fatigue 
and danger. In one of his expeditions, lord Surrey had the vizor 
struck off from his helmet by a shot fired from a thick wood as he 
passed; and he was perhaps soon anxious to escape from a warfare in 
which fatigue and danger were to be thus endured without fame or 
honourable success. The greatest success was to bring the insurgents 
to the encounter; dangerous in the lurking places, into which they 
seemed to melt away at the approach of an English force ; if they were 
caught in the field, it was but the slaughter of a barbarous rabble, 
and had no consequence. The war was one of depredation and burn- 
ing, and not of arms. The chiefs had comparatively little to lose; 
hostilities began on their side with a knowledge of the consequences. 

* Letter from Henry VIII. State Papers. 

f State Psipers. 


and a sufficient preparation to save themselves from them. They could 
drive away their cattle at the approach of the enemy ; and, when any 
serious danger appeared, it was time enough to propose peace, swear 
allegiance, and observe the engagement so long as was convenient. 
Many of these chiefs excused their hostilities by pleading the influence 
of Kildare ; and there is much reason to suspect, that the excuse was 
not without better proofs than mere assertions. A letter from Kildare 
to a. chief of the name of O'Carrol is quoted by Leland, as having been 
given to Surrey in proof of this earl's practices. It does not, however, 
bear the degree of evidence which the historian's statement seems to 
imply. The letter was not itself forthcoming when dem'anded by 
Surrey; but after much pressing and urgent persuasion, the contents 
of the letter were recollected and sworn to by Donogh O'Carrol. 
The following is the form of this person's deposition: " He [Donogh 
O'Carrol] saith that in Easter week last past, the abbot of Monastri- 
cow, called Heke, brought a letter to O'Carrol, out of England, on 
the behalf of the earl of Kildare, wherein was written these words: 
' There is no Irishman in Ireland I am better contented with than you ; 
and whenever I come into Ireland I shall do you good for any thing 
that ye shall do for me ; and any displeasure that I have done to you, 
I shall make you amends therefor. Desiring you to keep good peace 
to Englishmen, till an English deputie come there ; and when any Eng- 
lish deputy shall come thither, do your best to make war upon English- 
men there, except such as be towards me, whom ye know well your- 

Surrey's representations, founded mainly on such evidence, had the" 
effect of prepossessing the English monarch and his minister against 
Kildare ; and when this lord lieutenant was recalled, after two years' 
continuance in the country, he was commanded to commit the admin- 
istration to the earl of Ormonde, the rival and enemy of Kildare. 
Surrey's government had been productive of much good ; for though he 
had not been enabled to remedy the vicious state of the country's laws 
and customs, or to put a stop to the numerous abuses which depressed 
and retarded the prosperity of the pale, still the mere abstinence from 
wrong, and the cessation of partiality, oppression, and misgovernment 
in the seat of administration, were felt as great and rare blessings, 
which shed lustre on his government, and caused regret at his de- 

The elevation of an inveterate enemy to a position which empowered 
him to encroach on his rights, and endanger his power, made Kildare'a 
presence in Ireland necessary. Ormonde had the will, and many pre- 
texts for the persecution of the Geraldine faction; and there were 
even territorial questions liable to be raised between these powerful 
earls, which it would not be well to leave undefended. Kildare re- 
turned; his influence was increased by the unpopularity of his rival. 
The government of Pierce earl of Ormonde was unpopular, and Kil- 
dare soon found that he might, with safety, avow his enmity. At first, 
he had evidently resolved to preserve appearances. His character had 
been shaken by the complaints of Surrey, but Ormonde was himself 

* State Papers. Vol. ii. Part III. p. 45. 



involved in the whispers of faction, and liable to be denounced by his 
victims or his enemies. Having begun, therefore, by efforts to support 
the deputy, Kildare soon began to enter on the more congenial course 
of factious underworking, so familiar to the time. 

The dissensions between the earls were brought to an issue by an 
accidental circumstance. James Fitz- Gerald, a relation and friend of 
Kildare, meeting a favourite servant of Ormonde's on his way to Kil- 
kenny, slew him. The earl of Ormonde, in his anger, transmitted a 
complaint to the English court, which was retaliated by the complaints 
and accusations of Kildare. Commissioners were appointed to try the 
merits of the allegations on both sides in Ireland. Here Kildare had, 
however, a twofold advantage; his faction in Ireland, and his wife's 
powerful relations in England, combined to turn the scale of judgment. 
By the first, the selection of the commissioners was influenced ; and by 
the second, if necessary, the representations and testimonies must have 
been affected. The commission decided for him. His triumph was 
completed by the recall of his adversary, in whose place he was appoint- 
ed as lord deputy. The whole of this transaction was evidently pre- 
concerted in England; the commission was managed by the marquis 
of Dorset, and the commissioners, Sir Ralph Egerton, Sir Andrew 
Fitz-Herbert, and James Denton, dean of Litchfield, were appointed, 
and their instructions provided for the event by directing that Kildare, 
on his acquittal, should be named deputy in place of his accuser. This 
view is confirmed by the fact, that the indenture between the king 
and the earl bears date prior to this transaction.* 

The triumph of Kildare was swelled by the joy of his numerous and 
powerful faction; but circumstances soon arose which involved him in 
trouble and danger. The earl of Desmond, whose remote position, 
rather than any inferiority of power, kept him apart from the main 
course of Irish affairs, had, it is stated by all the old historians, entered 
into a treasonable correspondence with the king of France, who was at 
the time at war with Henry ; but peace being made between the kings, 
this correspondence was thus exposed. Kildare was ordered to march 
into Munster, and to apprehend Desmond. This was, however, a 
command opposed to all Kildare's principles of action and politics. 
Desmond was his kinsman, his ally, next to himself too, the most 
powerful and popular chief in Ireland. Formal obedience could not 
be avoided; he marched against Desmond, but there was a secret un- 
derstanding between these great chiefs, and nothing was done in 
earnest. Kildare turned on his march to assist his kinsman O'Niall, 
against O'Donell. He also attacked the Birnes to serve Desmond. 
A letter, of his to Desmond had been intercepted by his sister, the 
wife of Ormonde, and is said to have been used against him.f The 
recent publication of the state papers of this reign by government, has 
placed before us a more detailed and expanded view of these transac- 
tions than we can allow ourselves to enter upon, or than the interest 
of the period would justify. The principal charges occupy mainly 


f This is verified by Kildare's own admission. 
ii. p. 121. 

See State Papers, Vol. III. Part 


the several representations on either side ; forming alliances with the 
king's enemies, seizing on the king's land, or withholding his rents 
and subsidies. These statements were such as to have inevitably pre- 
judiced both parties, and it is probable that the king and English 
council were fully impressed with a conviction which had so often be- 
fore been the inference from similar brawls, that the country should 
be governed by an English governor only. Kildare's account of the 
letter represents it as written and intercepted long previous to the 
recent transactions with Desmond. He asserts that it had been 
seized by his own sister, Ormonde's wife, on the occasion of his mes- 
senger, a Fitz-Gerald, having slept at her house; that lord Ormonde 
had used it against him on the commission, when the commissioners 
had set it aside as proceeding " of no evil intent." This account may 
be the truth, but it is also very likely that the letter had a distinct 
bearing Avhich cast an unfavourable light on the recent accusation. 
The earl was recalled to answer the charges against him. From the 
mass of letters and articles of charge against Ormonde, we will ex- 
tract a portion of one short letter, less formal and more characteristic 
than the long documents which precede it. 

" Kildare to Henry VIIL* 

******** uj n mv mos t humble maner beseching your 
grace not to regard such untrue surmises of myne adversaries, till the 
truth bee tryed ; trusting, and knowing right well, that I never did be- 
thought any thing whereby I should deserve your moost drad dis- 
pleasure, where unto I was not only bound by my duty of allegiance, 
but also for that in my youth I was brought up in your service, and 
when I came to discretion, it pleased you to make me your tresurer, 
and consequently [subsequently] your deputie, and gave me landis to 
the yearely value of 100 markes. My first wife [Elizabeth Zouch] was 
your poor kinswoman; and my wife now [Lady Elizabeth Gray] in 
like maner. And in all my troubles before this, by untrue surmises 
against me, ye were good and gracious unto me, which ought enough 
suffice to bind, to owe unto your grace, my true and faithful service. 
And though there were no such cause, yet could I find in my heart to 
serve your grace before all the princes in the world, as well for the 
great nobleness, valiant prowess and equity, which I ever noted in your 
most noble person, as also for the vertuous qualities wherein ye excell 
all other princes. And besides that, I do know right well, if I did the 
contrary, it shulde bee the distruccion of me and my sequel for ever. 
As knoweth Almighty God, who ever have you in his tender tuicion. 
From my manor of Maynoth, the 17th daye of August [1525]." 

Kildare was called to stand his trial in the following year (1526), 
and had a narrow escape. The articles of his impeachment were, that 
1st, He had disobeyed the king's command by not taking the earl of 
Desmond. 2d, That he had contracted alliances with Irish enemies. 
3d, That he had caused certain good subjects to be hanged, for no 
other reason than they were friends or favourites to the family of the 

* State Papers, Vol. iii. p. 125. 


Butlers; and lastly, that he held private intelligence -with O'Niall, 
O'Conor, and other Irish lords, to make an inroad into Ormonde's 
territories.* In spite of the very strong and numerous charges con- 
tained in the letters and memorials of Ormonde, some of these charges 
impress the idea, that evidence of any very serious delinquency must 
have been wanting. The charges, most of them appear to be revivals 
of accusations long disposed of by the commission already mention- 
ed. On these charges, Wolsey contrived to obtain a sentence of death 
against Kildare. Kildare, however, knew the true source of this de- 
cision. The lieutenant of the Tower was his warm friend, and it was 
agreed that he should repair to the king, as if to take his commands 
on the affair. There was little time to lose; Kildare was, most pro- 
bably, to be beheaded in the morning early. It was late, and there 
was perhaps much uncertainty as to the king's being reached at the 
hour of midnight. Fortunately for Kildare, no such difficulty occurred: 
his friend stated the fact, and asked the king's pleasure. The king 
was much affected and surprised; the cardinal, to make the matter 
sure, had kept it from his knowledge, and this malicious privacy was 
now favourable to his intended victim ; Henry might easily have been 
talked into a very opposite feeling; his tyranny was the result of de- 
liberation, his better feelings were the impulse of the moment; these 
were now quickened by indignation, for he saw through the conspiracy, 
and his arbitrary temper, prompt whether in good or evil, suggested a 
decided course. He forbade the execution, and prohibited any further 
proceeding against the earl. He took off his ring and gave it to the 
lieutenant to bear to Wolsey as a token of his authority. The inter- 
position of his friends had now time to work, and the earl was liberated 
on their security, that he would appear when called upon to answer 
such charges as should be made against him. His securities were 
the marquis of Dorset, the countess dowager of Dorset, and several 
members of the family of Grey, with Sir Henry Guilford, John Abbott, 
and Sir John Zouch. Cox gives a curious and highly characteristic 
report of the speeches of Wolsey and Kildare, on the trial above 
referred to ; but as they seem altogether unauthentic, and still more 
because they are too long, we omit to extract them. Cox doubts this 
whole account of the earl's condemnation, and he may be right enough. 
He asserts that there is no authority for it. 

It is certain that Kildare was taken quickly into favour with the 
king. An extract from a letter, written by archbishop Inge and lord 
chief justice Birmingham, to Wolsey, dated 3d February, 1528, throws 
some additional light on the king's great partiality towards this earl. 
It also exhibits the strength of his party, and his great power in Ireland. 
" Thabsence of thise bothe lordes hathe greatlie enhaunsed and cou- 
raiged our soveraine lordes Hirish and Englisshe rebelles ; whereby 
the londe is alway in danger, and wolde be ferr more, werr nat the 
feree of their retourn. 

" And now, within this thre or foure daies, there is privey reaporte, 
that therll of Kildair, for som his inysdemeanours of late, is commit- 
ted unto the tour. If it so be, the seid erll is inervellous, and hathe 

* Ware. 



been uiiknowen to us and other divers the kinges true subjectes, of 
this his londe. In consideration wherof, it was never so great nede to 
provide for defens of this poor londe, in our daies as nowe; for the 
vice deputie* is nat of power to defend the Englisshrie ; and yet the 
poor people is ferr more chargid and oppressed by hym, than they 
have been, th erll of Kildair being here. He hathe no great londes 
of his owne, and the kinges revenues, besides the subsidie, is skante 
ynowe to pay the kinges officers ther ordinarie fees; and the subsidie 
may nat be hadde, till it be grannted by perliament, without the whiche 
the deputie hathe full litle to manteyn his chargies. Th erll of Kil- 
dair coude help hymself. in taking advantage of Hirishmen, better 
then any other here." 

The state of affairs in Ireland was such as to cause serious alarm 
in the pale and among the members of the administration. On his 
departure, the earl had committed the government to his brother, the 
lord Thomas Fitz- Gerald of Leixlip: the annalists briefly tell us that 
he was removed ; and his removal may be regarded as a fresh demon- 
stration of the enmity of the faction opposed to the earl. Richard 
Nugent baron Delvin was substituted; but he was soon found to be 
unequal to the difficulties of a situation, which demanded at the time 
extensive power and influence. O' Conor Fally, the ally and kinsman 
of the Geraldines, made an irruption into the pale, and carried off a 
large prey into Offaly: on receiving information of this, Delvin 
ordered the stoppage of his pension, claimed by O' Conor as due upon 
certain plough-lands in Meath. A meeting was proposed at Sir W. 
Darcy's castle, near Ruthven; but O' Conor, whose real object was far 
from a desire of accommodation, contrived an ambuscade, by which 
he intercepted the deputy, and made him a prisoner. The historical 
writers on this period state, that lord Ossory (Ormonde) was now ap- 
pointed in place of the imprisoned lord, and that he used every effort 
for his deliverance, but without effect. It is certain that considerable 
efforts were made by the earl of Ossory and his son, for the deliver- 
ance of Nugent ; and we think it likely, that the correspondence from 
which this fact appears must have misled the historians ; they inferred 
the appointment of lord Ossory from the authoritative position in 
which he appears during the transaction of so important a negotiation. 
But it seems nearly certain, from a letter of the Irish council to Wolsey 
on the occasion, that Thomas Fitz-Gerald was appointed by them; and 
it is also little probable that he would enter with any sincerity into the 
negotiations for the liberation of Nugent ; O'Conor having probably 
acted as the friend of the earl, and partisan of the Geraldines. 

O' Conor's claim is mentioned in the letter of the Irish council, from 
which our information is drawn; and from this document it appears, 
that they had urged the payment of his pension. This claim is also 
mentioned by Inge and Birmingham, in a letter to the duke of Nor- 
folk, in which they state, that there had been continual contention on 
the point, "sithe the earl of Kildare left this."f Lord Butler, son 
to lord Ormonde (Ossory at the time), mentions in a letter to arch- 
bishop Inge, his own visit to O' Conor's house, where he slept and was, 

* Richard Nugent, lord Delvin. 

t State Papers. 



with some difficulty, permitted to speak to Nugent, in presence of the 
O' Conors. He then mentions, that he contrived to bring away Cahir 
O'Conor (who was " to be the next O'Conor"), as a protection, and that 
he brought him with him to his father ; at his father's, they prevailed 
on him to promise to join their party, if his brother would not " be con- 
formable to reason:" O'Conor's chief stipulation was, that the king 
should not suffer the earl of Kildare to take revenge on him for taking 
part in the king's quarrel. Lord Butler adds, " surely, my lord, many 
great wise men that I have spoken with, since this misfortune happen- 
ed, think precisely that it comes through the abetment of the earl of 
Kildare, his counsellors and band; and that they look for much more 
mischief, if that you see not this substantially ordered. Therefore, 
my lord, at the reverence of God, look substantially at this matter, 
and beware whom you trust that you have trusted of this band [party]]. 
I have many things to say to your lordship, that I dare not write," &c. 
It would be a vain accumulation of parallel authorities to extract the 
abundant passages of an authentic correspondence which exhibit the 
sufficiently evident state of party feeling on either side. One sentence 
from a letter written at this time by the duke of Norfolk, probably 
contains the most important commentary upon the whole of these trans- 
actions. " The malice between the earls of Kildare and Ossory, is, 
in my opinion, the only cause of the ruin of that poor land." It is also 
obvious, from another letter written to Wolsey, by the same nobleman, 
that his opinion was for sending over Kildare, as the best course under 
the circumstances.* 

Wolsey's own opinion seems to have been formed on something of a 
compromise between the extreme opinions of the opposite parties ; he 
advised the committal of the administration to the Butlers, but still 
so as to communicate the impression to the Irish, that Kildare, who was 
nominally still deputy, should soon be sent over. For this reason, also, 
he would not advise that this earl should be discharged of the office; 
and further, that he thought it expedient to impress him with a sense 
of responsibility. It is evident through the entire of the long paper,f 
from which this opinion is taken, that he attributes the main disturb- 
ances to the influence of Kildare. The following extract may satisfy 
the reader : " Thies folowing bee the causes, whiche movethe the 
saide lorde cardinall to thinke, in his pore judgement, that the erle of 
Kildare shuld not bee put from his rome at this tyme, but the same to 
bee deferred, untill a more mature consultation were takene and had 
therein; soo that, upon his discharge, substanciall direction ymmedi- 
ately moght bee takene for the defence of the said lande, in thavoiding 
of suche perill and dannger, as mought folowe. 

" The firste cause is, that syns the harveste and collecte is nowe at 
hande, by reason thereof, no provision canne bee sente from hens, in 
tyme for the withstanding thereof, but that it suld bee in the powre 
of the Irishe rebelles, combined to gidder, to distroye and devaste the 
hoole Englishery, if, by good wisdome, dexteritie, and pollicie, they 
bee not conteyned by dulce and faire meanes, and somme hope of the 
erle of Kildares retourne : for it is greatly to bee fered, that the said 

* Letter to Wolsey. State Papers, Ib. p 135. t Sti.le Papers, Ib. p. 136. 



erle of Kildares kynnysfolkes, servanntes, and suclie other wild Irishe 
lordis (with whome the said erle hathe, and hathe had, intelligence), 
if they shall perceive that he is clerely excludid from his office, and in 
the kingis displeasure, they shall peradventure, for revenging thereof, 
seeing they may nowe commodiously, in maner without resistence, 
doo the same, over ronne the hoole Englishe boundes and pale, and 
doo suche high displeasure, as woll not, withoute an army royall, and 
mervailous great expensis, bee redubbid or repayred hereafter ; where 
as they, being in somme hope, and not in utter disperation of the said 
erles retourne, there is some apparence that they woll forbere from 
doing the said extreme hurtis, and soo, by such meanes, the said dann- 
gers maye bee wisely put over, till other better provysion shall bee 
made and devised for withstanding of their malicious attemptates. 

" The second cause, why there shuld bee none other deputie made at 
this tyme thene, is, that as long as the said erle of Kildare is not dis- 
chargid of his rome, he shalbe aferd that any thing shuld bee done or 
attemptid, to the great hurte of the Englishery, by those that he hathe 
intelligence with, or any others, supposing that the same mought be 
layed and arrected unto his charge ; forasmoche as he standeth oner- 
ate, as yet, as the kingis deputie of that lande: where as he, being 
thereof discharged, shall litle or nothing care, what may comme of 
the said land, or what hurte or dammage bee inferrid thereunto." 

Lord Ossory was soon after sent over as deputy ; and the lord chan- 
cellor having died of the sweating sickness, which was this year (1528) 
very prevalent and fatal in Ireland, a creature of Wolsey's was appoint- 
ed, with the well understood purpose of giving all annoyance possible to 
the earl of Kildare. The earl on his part, sent over his daughter, lady 
Slane, to stir up O'Niall and O'Conor, his friends and kinsmen, to op- 
pose and thwart the lord deputy. She was, as Cox observes, "un- 
happy in being successful;" having thus caused great confusion and 
devastation,* which ultimately told with nearly fatal weight against 
the earl himself. 

For the present, however, affairs began to wear a favourable aspect 
for Kildare. For although his practices were thoroughly known to 
all parties, and fully understood by the king, they had not the effect of 
prejudicing his reputation with the council, or of causing any serious dis- 
pleasure in Henry's mind. His misdeeds were consistent with the prin- 
ciples of the age, and practised by his rivals and opponents according 
to their power. The one question looked upon was expediency, and 
Kildare's great power for good or evil, suggested the trial of making 
him a friend, and securing his good offices by favourable conditions. 
In pursuance of this object, the king determined to liberate the earl, 
and send him over with Sir William Skeffington, who was in 1529 ap- 
pointed deputy to the duke of Richmond. The duke was made lord 
lieutenant, and held the office for life. Though it was thought inex- 
pedient to intrust the earl with the government, or in any way to in- 
crease powers already too large for the peace of the country, yet his 

* Letter from Ossory to Wolsey State Papers, p. 143. See also the letter 

which follows from lord Butler, and the Paper of Instructions from the deputy 
and council, p. 145. 



pride was to be conciliated, and his good offices secured. The in- 
structions to Skeffington were prepared accordingly; particular stress 
is laid upon the importance of keeping the peace between " the king's 
well beloved cousins, Kildare, Desmond, -and Ossory," as a principal 
means to preserve the peace of the country, and consult its interests. 
Amongst these instructions in which the deputy is desired to call a 
parliament to get a subsidy before its sitting, to charge the lands of 
the clergy, to repress military exactions he is also specially desired 
to assist the earl of Kildare in his enterprises.* The paragraph is 
worth extracting. " And whereas therle of Kyldare hath made faith- 
full promise unto the kynges highness to employe and endeavor hym 
selfe, to the uttermost of his power, for the annoyance of the kynges 
sayd rebellious subjectes of the wyld Irishry, as well by makyng ex- 
courses upon them as otherwise ; farasmuche as the men of warre, now 
sent oute of this realme with the sayde deputie, shall move in suche 
case, doo right good stede to the sayd erle, in such exployttes as he 
shall make, whene the sayde deputie shall not fortune to procede ther- 
unto hym selfe, shall, at the requisicion of the sayd erle, send unto hym 
the sayd men of warre, or as many of them as he shall requier for 
makyng of suche exployttes, reserving a convenient nomber of them 
to remayne and attend upon hym selfe; and the proffyttes of suche 
imposicions, that is to say, of bestes or other thyng, that at an entre 
or exployte shalbe imponed or had, by way of patysment or agreement 
upon thenemyse, to be alwayese the moyte answered to the kynges 
highnes, to thandes of the sayde undertresawrer, and the other moyte 
to renue to therle of Kyldare, yf he shall make thexploite, and putt 
the imposicion, and to his company not havyng the kynges wages, to 
be ordred and divided by his discrecion, as hath bene accustomed."! 

The arrival of Kildare excited among his friends and powerful party, 
a sensation of great joy. He was, together with the deputy, received 
by a procession of the citizens, near St Mary's abbey.J His conduct 
was, for some time, conformable to the expectations of the government. 
I le probably aided the deputy in an invasion of the O'Mores ; and in 
the following year (1531), he certainly accompanied him in an expedi- 
tion into Ulster. 

The habits of Kildare were factious ; he was not likely to submit 
with much patience to have his predilections and animosities curbed 
by one whom he must have regarded as an inferior : it was not long 
before ill-will began to grow up between him and the deputy, who 
appears to have soon entered into a friendly understanding with the 
earl of Ossory. The death of Wolsey, which occurred in the year at 
which we are arrived, gave also an impulse to the ambition of Kildare. 
Both he and the deputy now commenced their efforts to undermine 
each other in the favour of the king. With Skeffington was joined 
the Butler faction, and their various correspondence, which, if quoted 
here, would appear as the repetition of the same characteristic com- 
plaints and charges of which the reader is now fully aware, must have 
at length produced a strong prejudice against the earl in the English 
coiuicil. He became at last so impatient, that he could no longer be 

State Papers. 

fib., Vol. ii. p. 150. 




content to suffer their efforts for his overthrow to pass unresisted. 
His enemies were superior in the game of intrigue, cabal, and private 
diplomacy: his character was framed for less artificial courses, and in 
going over to speak for himself, Kildare undoubtedly best consulted 
his own interests ; with the warm and arbitrary temper of Henry, 
which often led him to act with independent decision on the impulse 
or conviction of the moment, the frank and hardy simplicity of the 
earl was likely to have more influence than those refined and courtly 
arts, of which experience had taught him the true value. 

He went over in 1532, and so managed matters at court, that with 
the help of his English friends he prevailed to have Skeflfington re- 
moved, and himself appointed deputy in his place. He was as usual 
welcomed with acclamations in Dublin, when he received the sword 
from the hands of his enemy. Instead, however, of recollecting the 
example of his father, and the experience of his own life, and con- 
firming the advantages he had gained by a prudent self-control, 
and by conciliating enemies for whom he was no match at their 
own game, the earl acted with precipitate rashness, and only recog- 
nized his character as governor, as the means of success in the party 
hostilities into which he threw himself with increased infatuation of 
spirit. He made a furious incursion into the districts of Kilkenny, 
and committed devastation on Lord Ossory's lands ; he encouraged the 
O'Nialls in an attack on the English villages in Louth. The clamour 
of an irritated and increasing faction grew louder, and their accusa- 
tions more weighty. Against this menacing juncture of affairs, Kil- 
dare's power and spirit rather than his discretion maintained him for a 
while. He was not solicitous to gain friends, and carried all his ob- 
jects with a high hand. He married his daughters to O'Conor Faly, 
and to O'Carrol, and the alliances which thus strengthened him in the 
country, helped to confirm the reports of his accusers. 

He called a parliament in Dublin, in the May of the next year 1533. 
Its acts were not important; when it was over he invaded the country 
of Ely O'Carrol, at the desire of his son-in-law, Ferganim O'Carrol, 
who asserted himself to be the chief of that district. In this affair 
Kildare received a bullet in the thigh. Ware tells that on this occa- 
sion, a soldier who was standing near observed the earl show some 
signs of pain, and said, " My lord, why do you sigh so, I was myself 
thrice shot with bullets, and I am now whole." " I wish," replied the 
earl, " you had received the fourth in my stead." A letter in the state 
papers from " Cowley to Cromwell," adverts to a report prevalent 
at this time that the "lord of Kildare was shot with a hand gun 
through the side under the ribs, and so lyeth in great danger." 

In the year 1533, a deputation was sent over to England, from the 
Irish council, with representations of the state of the country, and 
private instructions to lay every thing amiss to the charge of Kildare. 
This commission was trusted to John Allen, Master of the Rolls. The 
written instructions are published in the State Papers, and convey a 
just notion of the low state of the pale at the time. We shall there- 
fore enumerate the heads of complaint, from that document. It be- 
gins by stating that " the lande" is fallen into such decay, that the 
English language, dress and laws are not used, except within a com- 

2 c 


pass of about twenty miles. This evil is attributed first and chiefly to 
taking of coyne and livery, " without order, after men's own sensual 
appetites ;" also "cuddies' gartie, taking of caanes for felonies, murders, 
and all other offences." Secondly, the disuse of arms among the 
English, who formerly practised archery, and kept stout English 
servants able to defend them; instead of which they had now in course 
of time fallen into the custom of employing native servants, who could 
" live hardily without bread and other good victuals ;" they also pre- 
ferred Irish tenants, because they could make them pay higher rents, 
and submit to " other impositions," which English husbandmen could 
not afford to give. Thirdly, it is alleged, that the lords of the pale, 
instead of retaining soldiers in their castles at their own cost, for the 
defence of the pale, that they kept them at the expense of the king's 
poor subjects, on whom they were a severe burthen. Fourthly, they 
complain of the "liberties," kept by the great lords, by which the 
king was defrauded of his revenues. A still more injurious abuse, 
was the payment of " black rent," to the native chiefs for their for- 
bearance and protection, by which they were encouraged in violence, 
and enriched at the expense of the English. To this complaint it 
is added, that when they committed their robberies on the king's sub- 
jects, and were pursued by an English force, the lords deputy instead 
of restoring the property thus recovered to the people who had been 
plundered, kept it to enrich themselves. Fifthly, they attribute these 
evils to the appointment of Irish deputies, and also to the frequent change 
of deputies. Sixthly, the negligence in keeping the king's records. 
Seventhly and lastly, they complain of the king having lost and given 
away his manors, lordships, &c., so that he had not left any resources 
in the country for the maintenance of his government. This paper of 
instructions is signed by the bishops of Armagh, Dublin, Meath, Kil- 
dare, the abbots of St Mary's abbey, and Thomas' court, and by lords 
Gormanstown, Trindeston, &c. In an annexed paper, they propose 
answerable remedies for all these abuses; and among other things 
state, that " there is grown such a rooted dissension between the earls 
of Kildare and Ossory, that in our opinions it is not likely, and the 
experience of many times proved manifesteth the same, to bring them 
to good conforinitie, especially if either of them be deputie, or aspire 
to that rooine." Such was probably the hint on which Allen was to 
speak; and such were the various topics on which the earl was assail- 

These representations were backed by an ample correspondence in 
which the same complaints and suggestions were urged with the added 
weight of private communication. Among the documents appertain- 
ing to this time, is a lengthened statement not inappropriately called 
a " boke," by the writer, which sets the disorders of the period in the 
strongest light. Amongst other things, it states with considerable 
force the evils arising from the great power acquired by Kildare. We 
shall have to recur to this document hereafter. 

The result of all these representations to Kildare was unfortunate. 
He received an order to go over into England, that he might answer 
the charges against him. Kildare was alarmed; he sent over his wife 
to stir the zeal of her own powerful kindred in his behalf, to have the 


order revoked. In the meantime he found some pretence in the dis- 
ordered state of affairs to delay his own journey. The subterfuge 
was however of no avail; he was again ordered over, and directed to 
commit the government during his absence to some one for whose 
conduct he could be answerable. Even in his fear, the habitual care 
of his own power was uppermost in Kildare's mind: he garrisoned 
his castles and armed them from the king's ordnance, in defiance of 
an express prohibition. His greatest and most fatal error, was the 
committing the government to his own son, the lord Thomas Fitz- 
Gerald, a youth without experience, and not above twenty-one years of 
age. The fatal consequences to the earl, the numerous members of 
this great family, and to the unhappy youth himself, must be separately 
related. Excited to rebellion by the artifice of his father's enemies, 
a few months closed his rash career. The earl died of grief in the 
Tower, in the chapel of which he was buried, 12th December, 1534.* 
An act of attainder was passed against him and his family, but his 
son Gerald was afterwards restored to the title and estates. 
The college of Maynooth was founded by this earl in 1521. 


BORN A. D. 1513. BEHEADED, A. D. Io36. 

As the best continuation of the history of the events mentioned in 
the previous memoir, we shall here subjoin some account of the brief 
and tragic career of the unfortunate Thomas Fitz- Gerald, son to the 
powerful earl last noticed. 

On the earl's departure for England, he committed the government 
to lord Thomas, his eldest son, not yet more than twenty-one years of 
age. The act was in the highest degree rash and fatal ; but the earl 
did not neglect to give his son such prudent advice, that if it be not 
recollected how wide is the distinction between sensible reasoning and 
prudent conduct, one may wonder that the giver had not acted more 
prudently himself. 

This imprudent commission might have been attended with no ill 
consequences, if the youthful deputy had no enemies to deal with, but 
those of the pale; for he was brave, alert, and possessed of no small 
military talent. But the danger of his situation arose from those who 
should have been his friends and trusty advisers ; the powerful faction 
which had undermined the earl, were now prepared to follow up the 
blow, by taking advantage of the inexperience and impetuosity of his 
son. They began with artful attempts to provoke his temper by petty 
slights, and it became evident to the youth that there was a cabal 
raised against him in the council. A few trivial anecdotes are told 
by Cox, which have their place at this stage of his history. At a 
banquet, he met with Allen, Master of the Rolls, a bitter enemy of his 
father's; the conversation turned upon heraldry: in its course, Allen 
turning to the deputy, said, that " his lordship's house gave a marmo- 

* State Papeis, Ixxxvi. 


set, whose property it was to eat her tail ; to whom the deputy replied, 
that he had been fed by his tail, and should take care that his tail 
did not eat him." On another occasion he kept the council waiting 
for some hours, when the archbishop of Dublin at last grew impatient, 
and asked if it were not a pretty matter that they should stay so long 
for a boy. Lord Thomas who was at the moment entering the room, 
overheard the remark, and told the council that " he was sorry they 
should stay so long for a boy."* 

It did not require much observation to apprise lord Thomas that 
he was surrounded by watchful and malignant enemies, who would let 
pass no occasion to injure him. His father's strong injunctions, might 
nevertheless have restrained him within the path of prudence, had not 
his enemies, or indiscreet friends originated a false report, that his 
father was put to death in the Tower. It was added, that his five 
uncles were also to be seized and executed, and that the same fate was 
designed for himself. To favour this report, it is affirmed, letters 
were written and sent in different directions, and it was perhaps by 
contrivance, that one of these fell into the hands of Deluhide, lord 
Thomas's confidential adviser. The young Geraldine rushed into the 
snare, if such it was, and at once flinging aside deliberation and every 
purpose but revenge, he associated himself with O'Niall and O' Conor 
the fast friends of his family, and resolved on the most violent and 
immediate measures. Summoning together such of his followers as 
could be collected, he rode through the city at the head of 140 armed 
cavalry (in shirts of mail), to Dame's gate, where he crossed the river, 
and proceeded straight to Mary's abbey, where the council were sitting 
at the moment. Attended by these followers, he entered the chamber 
and sternly took his seat, his disordered appearance indicated repressed 
passion and an angry purpose ; and as the foremost of his followers 
were pressing into the chamber, the members of the council began to 
shew signs of alarm. Lord Thomas sternly commanded his followers 
to be silent, and addressed the council with a fierce calmness of tone and 
manner. He told them that notwithstanding his wrongs, he would act 
as a soldier and a gentleman, and that he did not mean to use to their 
hurt the sword that had been intrusted to him. That he now came 
to return it. That it had a pestilent edge bathed in the blood of the 
Geraldines, to whom it now menaced farther injury. That he came 
to resign it, and would thenceforth use his own. That he warned 
them that he was become their enemy, and the enemy of the king, 
whom he renounced and declared war against from that moment. 
" I am none of Henry's deputies," he concluded, " I am his foe, I have 
more mind to conquer than to govern, to meet him in the field than 
to serve him in office : if all who have been wronged by him, would 
unite, as I trust they will, he should learn of the treatment due to 
tyranny and cruelty, such as never have been exceeded by the most 
infamous tyrants in ancient history ."f Some such step was expected 
from lord Thomas, and it is possible that the consternation produced 
by this speech, was nothing more than the anxiety which some present 
may have felt for their personal safety. And the historians who 

* Cox. f Cox, Holicuhed. 


describe the scene, appear to agree, that the speech whicn is attri- 
buted to Cromer, the chancellor, was insincere. It was perhaps, 
partly fear, and partly policy, that suggested the answer of the 
chancellor, when lord Thomas returning him the sword of state was 
turning to depart: but it is to be recollected, that Cromer had been 
the friend of the Geraldines. We are therefore not inclined to set 
down altogether to political finesse, the affecting appeal which this 
state officer is said to have addressed to the rash youth. Catching the 
young lord by the wrist, with streaming eyes and affectionate emphasis 
Cromer reminded him of the affectionate terms on which they had 
ever been. And then solemnly warned him against the rash delusion 
of imagining that any force he could bring together and support in 
the field, could avail against the strength of the kingdom and the power 
of the king. He suggested the uncertainty of the report of the earl's 
death. He urged the sacredness of the kingly character, and reminded 
him of the uniform fate of rebellion. 

These obvious suggestions had little effect on the young lord, 
though urged with great force of language, and earnestness of 

While the chancellor was thus addressing the impatient young lord, 
his rude followers who did not understand the English language, 
looked with wonder at the speaker, and listened to his oration " which 
he set forth with such a lamentable countenance, as his cheeks were 
all blubbered with tears."* Some of them supposed he was preaching, 
others that he was spouting heroic verse in praise of lord Thomas, 
the pride and glory of the Geraldines. No sooner was the supposed 
song or sermon ended, than Denelan, lord Thomas's bard took up the 
strain, and thundered out the praises of his lord, in all the sounding 
modulation and figurative affluence of the Irish tongue. He celebrated 
his courage and high blood, his personal beauty and magnificent ap- 
pearance, calling him by the popular name of silken Thomas, from the 
richness of his attire, and that of his train whose armour was embroid- 
ered with silk, and concluded by telling him significantly, that he delayed 
too long there. Lord Thomas was more alive to flattery, and the sense 
of admiration than to fear or reason : but it is not necessary to assume 
with some writers, that his purpose was in any way affected by this un- 
couth stimulus. His high-flown confidence in the power of his family, 
was enough to repel reasons grounded on their insufficiency for rebellion: 
he knew the insincerity of those before whom he stood, and felt that he 
had gone too far to retract with safety : scorning to be cajoled, he made 
a brief and stern reply, and flinging the sword on the council table, 
he left the chamber with his followers. The chancellor who had been 
so pathetic in attempting to dissuade him, now lost no time in writing 
and despatching an account to king Henry, by his own servant Thomas 
Erode, as we learn from a letter of baron Finglas, written to Crom- 
well at the same time.f Orders were also sent to the mayor to seize 
him as he passed through the city. But this was a command which 
there was no force to execute : the city had been nearly depopulated 
by the plague. The archbishop Allen, and baron Finglas took refuge 

* Cox. f Finglas to Cromwell. State Papers, Let. 75. 


in the castle, and lord Thomas proceeded to raise the surrounding 
country, with the resolution to make himself master of Dublin. He 
next looked round for allies, and endeavoured to strengthen his cause 
to the utmost. He sent an ambassador to the Pope, and one to the 
king of Spain, he also wrote a pressing letter to lord Butler, son to 
Lord Ossory, and his cousin, to engage his assistance. To this young 
lord he proposed, that they should conquer the whole island, and share 
it between them. Lord Butler wrote him in reply, a letter of friendly 
but yet rough rebuke. Saying, that in such a quarrel, "I would 
rather die thine enemy, than live thy partner," and advising him, that 
" ignorance and error with a certain idea of duty, have carried you 
unawares to this folly, not yet so rank but that it may be cured." On 
receiving which letter, lord Thomas immediately proceeded to invade 
his lands about Kilkenny. In this district he committed much destruc- 
tive ravage, and then returned toward Dublin. It was his design to 
lay siege to the castle. The inhabitants of the city were far from being 
favourable to his cause: they largely contributed to supply the castle 
with provisions. Lord Thomas in his resentment, directed Fingal, 
from which they drew their chief supplies, to be plundered. The 
citizens attempted to rescue the prey, as a party of the marauders 
passed by Kilmainham. But they were worsted in the attempt, with 
the loss of 80 citizens. Availing himself of the consternation thus 
produced, lord Thomas sent word to the city, that though he could 
destroy them, he would be content to spare them, if they would allow 
him to besiege the castle. The mayor and corporation were perplexed, 
they had no desire to yield, but the danger of resistance seemed rather 
formidable. In this strait they sent information of their condition to 
the king, and advised with the constable of the castle. This officer 
did not think they could prevent the siege, and stipulated for a liberal 
supply of men and provisions. The mayor sent in 20 tons of wine, 
24 tons of beer, 2000 dried ling, 16 hogsheads of beef, 20 chambers, 
and an iron chain for the drawbridge. 

The possibility of falling into the hands of the lord Thomas, awak- 
ened the fears of his enemy the archbishop Allen. Should the castle 
be stormed, his life might be seriously endangered in the insolence of 
victory : little moderation was to be anticipated from the late scene in 
the council chamber. Under this alarming impression, Allen resolved 
to escape into England, where alone he could find security from the 
threatened danger. 

Awaiting the concealment of darkness, on the evening of the same 
day, Allen got on board a vessel near Dame's gate, and as he felt him- 
self on the waters perhaps gratulated himself on his escape from the 
fiery Geraldine and his ruffian band. He was roused from his dream 
of security, by the information that his vessel was stranded, and could 
not be disengaged from the sands, near Clontarf. A fact which may 
indicate the precipitation of the fear which had urged him to sail 
without the tide. It is, however, said that the pilot was a Fitz-Gerald, 
and it is probable that the mishap was contrived. Allen was highly 
alarmed, his enemies were not far off, and while he calculated the pro- 
bability of falling into their hands, he thought with regretful longing of 
tne castle, from the shelter of which he had rashly fled. The only 


resource left, was a village called Artayne,* not far from the shore 
where he was forced to land. There he might still hope for a short 
concealment, until the means of escape should offer. But unhappily 
for this hope, the report of his being there was straight conveyed to 
his enemies. Early the next morning, the lord Thomas with two 
of his uncles, John and Oliver, were at the door of the hut in which 
he lay. Two men, John Zeling and Nicholas Wafer, were sent iu 
for him. These ruffians found archbishop Allen on the bed where he 
lay trembling in the agony of a terror which but too justly estimated 
his danger; and seizing him with savage violence, dragged him out 
in his shirt upon the road. Naked and trembling, he threw himself 
on his knees before his enemies, and with a suppliant voice and 
countenance, begged pity for the love of God on a Christian and an 

What followed has received different constructions. The lord 
Thomas turned away, saying to his followers "take away the clown," 
on which they fell upon the poor old man and beat his brains out. 

Such was the end of this unfortunate prelate. To suppose that his 
murder was intended by lord Thomas, is hardly consistent with the im- 
pression made by his general character; though proud, impetuous 
and rash, he was not without generosity, and the common sense of 
humanity. Yet the combination of circumstances is such as to suggest 
a less favourable decision : it is hard to believe that he did not know 
his followers well enough to be aware of the consequence of his 
own words and actions ; or, that they would have had the gratuitous 
audacity to murder an old priest, before their chief, without any 
order or distinct understanding to that effect. If the lord Thomas's 
manner was sufficiently equivocal to countenance the mistake of his 
meaning, we should be inclined to call the ambiguity intentional. 
Nor should the aggravating circumstances, of the age, rank, profes- 
sion and helpless condition of the sufferer, weigh so far as to repel 
these suspicions. Against this, it is enough to recollect the cause of 
the young Geraldine's resentment: the supposed execution of his 
father had driven him into rebellion, and he probably saw in Allen 
the chief instrument of his death. If such was his impression, re- 
venge would appear a sacred duty, and the terrors of the victim were 
but the needful demands of vindictive feeling. This is a true, though 
fearful aspect of human nature. We are still, however, not com- 
pelled to have recourse to this conclusion. The two uncles, whose 
characters we know not, may have given the private order or signal. 
Nor is it quite impossible, that the impression that Allen was the 
cause of their lord's death, may have induced the murderers to imagine 
that the service would be acceptable, and they knew that it could be 
done with impunity. The following is the statement of Robert Reilly, 
who assisted in the murder, made on his examination when he had de- 
livered himself up to government. " The lord Thomas, accompanied 
by J. Fitz- Gerald, and about 40 others, went to Artayne, where the 
archbishop lay, at the house of Mr Hothe, and there the prelate was 
murdered. But whether it was by lord Thomas's command or not, he 

* State Papers. 



could not say. But he admits, that on the same day, he was sent by 
Fitz- Gerald to Maynooth, with a casket which his master had taken 
from the bishop. And that lord Thomas afterwards sent one Charles 
his chaplain to the bishop of Rome, to the intent (as he had heard) 
of obtaining absolution for killing the bishop." 

The murderers were excommunicated, and a copy of the sentence 
was sent to* aggravate the suffering of the unhappy earl of Kildare in 
his imprisonment. It is published at full length in the State Papers, 
from a copy addressed for " Mr Lieutenant, at the king's Tower, Lon- 

Lord Thomas's party next took lord Howth and Mr Luttrel prisoners 
in their own houses ; and being permitted by the mayor, according to 
the arrangement already mentioned, he proceeded to besiege the castle. 
For this purpose he detached 600 men, under the command of Field, 
Zeling, Wafer, &c., who planted two or three small cannon (called 
falcons) near Preston's inns, against the castle. Having obtained posses- 
sion of many of the children of the citizens, they threatened to expose 
them in their trenches, if the castle guns should be turned that way. 

It was in this interval that lord Thomas himself, with O'Niall and 
others, went to fulfil his menace to lord Butler, by invading the 
county of Kilkenny, which they laid waste to Thomastown. We have 
already mentioned the result. The Butlers were defeated, and lord 
Butler wounded. 

In the mean time, alderman Herbert, who had been sent over by the 
corporation of Dublin to the king, returned with an assurance of im- 
mediate aid. On this, the citizens took courage, and ordered their 
gates to be shut. The rebels, whom they had admitted in their fears, 
now attempted to escape. Some swam the Liffey, but the greater part 
were secured. 

On hearing this, lord Thomas left Kilkenny and summoned the 
force of the pale. He seized on many children of citizens who were 
at school in the country .| 

He also sent an expostulation to the city, reproaching them with their 
breach of agreement and demanding the liberation of the prisoners. 
But his reproaches and demands met with equal disregard. He, there- 
fore, attacked the castle from Ship Street, but was repelled by the fire 
of its battery. He then moved his position to Thomas Court, where he 
pulled down the street and made a gallery for the protection of his 
men. He burnt the New Street, and planted a gun against Newgate, 
which shot a man inside through the gate. His men were, in turn, 
severely cut up by the enemy's fire, and they were very much irritated by 
the success with which their fire was returned by Staunton, the gaoler 
of Newgate. An instance is mentioned of the skill of Staunton. 
Seeing one of the enemy taking aim at the loop-hole, from which he 
had been firing, he shot him through the head before he had time to 
fire ; then rushing out by a postern, he brought in the gun of the fallen 
rebel before any attempt could be made to prevent him. This so en- 
raged the troop of lord Thomas, that they brought fire and attempted 
to burn the gate. 

* State Papers, Ixxxi. p. 217. 

t Cox. 


The citizens, after a little, began to perceive that lord Thomas was 
not sincerely supported by his men, who had been most of them com- 
pelled into the service. Headless arrows were shot over the walls, 
and other signs of remissness appearing 1 , a sally was resolved. A re- 
port was first spread that succours had arrived from England; and 
before the artifice could be detected they rushed with sudden impetuosity 
through the burning and smoking ruins on the enemy. Fitz-Gerald's 
army scattered away before the attack. One hundred were slain and 
his cannon taken. 

After this misfortune, it is likely that lord Thomas had not much 
confidence in the result of a message to the city, proposing " that his 
men who were prisoners should be enlarged ; that the city should pay 
one thousand pounds in money, and five hundred in wares ; to furnish 
him with ammunition and artillery ; to intercede with the king for his 
pardon, and that of his followers." To these demands, of which the 
last should of itself have made the rest seem frivolous, the city 
answered by its recorder, " that if he would deliver up their children 
they would enlarge his men; that they were impoverished with his 
wars, and could not spare either wares or money ; if he intended to 
submit, he had no need of artillery and ammunition, if not they would 
not give him rods to whip themselves ; that they expected he would 
request good vellum parchment to engross his pardon, and not artillery 
to withstand his prince ; that they promised all the intercession they 
could by word or letter."* 

Lord Thomas agreed with the citizens on these terms.- It was all 
he could do at the moment. He thus recovered his men. Having 
given and received hostages, he raised the siege, and sending his men and 
military stores to Howth, he went to Maynooth, and left directions for 
the storing and fortifying the castle against a siege : and then speedily 
returned to his little army near Howth. In the meantime a landing had 
been effected by a party of English, who, with an imprudence not 
easily accounted for, had been separated from the main detachments 
under Sir William Brereton and Skeffington, who were then entering 
the bay with a sufficient, though small force, sent over in aid of the pale 
and city. The small party, commanded by two captains Hamerton. 
amounted to 1 80 men ; on their way to Dublin they were met by the lord 
Thomas, and a sharp encounter took place, in which they Avere all slain 
or taken. Lord Thomas was wounded in the forehead by one of the 
Hamertons. Encouraged by a success, from which considering the 
disparity of numbers and arms, no very satisfactory inference could be 
soberly drawn; he now led his men to the heights of Howth in the 
vain hope to prevent anj further landing of the English by a feeble 
cannonade from a scanty and inefficient battery. He seems to have 
forgotten the other coast of the bay : the firing only served to prevent 
Sir William Brereton from attempting a useless and dangerous colli- 
sion, and probably informed him of the fate of the previous party. It 
is mentioned that Rouks, Fitz-Gerald's pirate, took one ship laden with 
English horses: but he could not prevent the English from landing at 
several points. Sir William Brereton and Skeffington landed without 

* Cox. 



opposition, and marched into Dublin, where it is needless to describe 
Low gladly they were received. Their arrival was felt on both sides to 
amount to a decisive change of their respective positions. Lord Thomas 
must have felt his hopes expire when from the height on which he 
stood, he caught the distant acclamations of the city, which in its 
weakest moment had defied him. 

Many circumstances, however, were unfavourable to the active ex- 
ertions of the deputy Skeffington, and protracted the rebellion. Skef- 
f'.ngton was himself ill the winter was at hand it was late in Octo- 
ber and the present state of the rebels required more distant and 
extended operations than the season or the strength of the English 
force permitted. Under these circumstances the deputy confined his 
operations, and awaited further supplies of men. He only marched to 
Drogheda, on the report that it was besieged by lord Thomas ; and 
remained there about a week. 

The winter passed without any decided event ; but the suffering, of 
the pale was unusually severe, from the activity of the rebels, to 
whom no adequate resistance could be made. Lord Thomas, himself, 
went into Connaught, to engage the aid of the western chiefs. 

It is said that the citizens of Dublin and the English troops were 
much discontented at the inactivity of Skeffmgton, whose illness pro- 
duced debility of mind and body. Early in March, however, active 
steps were resolved on, and Sir William Brereton was appointed to 
command a party against the strong castle of Maynooth. On his way 
he had an encounter with the rebels, and defeated them with great 
slaughter ; and on the 1 6th March he invested Maynooth. He raised 
a strong battery against the north side of the castle, and sent in a 
summons to the garrison to surrender, with offers of pardon and re- 
ward. His summons and offers were rejected with scornful derision, 
and he opened his fire upon the walls. The castle was well supplied 
and garrisoned, and fortified with walls of immense solidity. The 
artillery of the time was comparatively inefficient, and that of Brere- 
ton not of the best. A fortnight passed, and no considerable impression 
was made ; so that it became a matter of doubt and strong apprehen- 
sion that the lord Thomas might be enabled to relieve the castle be- 
fore they could obtain possession of it. Fortunately a result which 
must have led to a continuance of this pernicious war, and to a vast 
increase of slaughter, was prevented by an act of perfidy, which, if it 
has seldom been paralleled, has never been exceeded. 

The castle was commanded by Christopher Parese, the foster brother 
of lord Thomas, and bound to him not only by the common pledges of 
important trust and obligation but by every tie of gratitude and sacred 
understanding of affection and duty. This base wretch, with a cowar- 
dice or venality disgraceful even in a bad cause, had conveyed to Skef- 
tington an intimation that he would put the castle in his hands for a 
sum of money and certain other stipulations. Skeffington consented, 
and came off to the besieging army to take possession. Parese took 
advantage of a small success gained in a sally of the garrison, and pro- 
bably preconcerted, to make them all drunk at night; and while they 
were in this condition, he gave the signal to the English, who, meeting 
no resistance, scaled the walls and took possession without resistance. 


The spoil of the castle was very rich, for it was the best furnished 
castle in the island. Brereton planted his standard on the turret, and 
in the afternoon Skeffington entered the walls. It now remained to 
discharge his obligations to the traitor. Parese, triumphant in suc- 
cess and solicitous to receive his reward, was not slack to present 
himself before the lord deputy. A few minor matters were first at- 
tended to. Two singers came and " prostrated themselves, warbling 
a sweet sonnet, called dulcis arnica;" their harmony won the favour of 
the chief justice Aylmer, at whose request they were pardoned. The 
deputy next addressed himself to Parese, and told him, that the service 
he had done in saving charge and bloodshed to the English was so 
great, that he thought it should be taken into consideration; and for 
this purpose, it was desirable first to ascertain what benefits he 
received in the service of Fitz-Gerald; Parese in his eagerness swal- 
lowed the bait ; only intent on magnifying his own merits and import- 
ance, he detailed the advantages he had reaped from a long course of 
unremitting generosity, kindness, and affectionate confidence, and un- 
consciously unmasked the heartless baseness of his conduct and cha- 
racter, to his revolted and loathing hearers; he was lord Thomas' 
foster brother, he owed his whole importance and all he possessed to 
his munificence, and was placed by his confiding regard in the first 
place of trust and honour among his people ; " and how Parese," said 
the deputy, " couldst thou find it in thy heart to betray so kind a lord? 1 ' 
Parese stood confounded he had forgotten himself too far he felt 
the load of contempt that breathed around him, and perhaps, for there 
is pride without honour, he wished so foul a deed undone. He was 
not long allowed to ponder on his position. " Go," said the lord 
deputy to an officer, " see him paid the price of his treachery, and 
then, without a moment's delay, see his head cut off." Parese had the 
coolness to say, " Had I known this, your lordship should not have had 
the castle so easily. " The deputy was silent, but a person who was 
present exclaimed, " Too late," and this exclamation passed into a 
popular saying, " Too late, says Boyce."* 

Of this latter incident, the official account of the lord deputy and 
the council take no notice. It is not unlikely that, considering the game 
of complaint and misrepresentation which seems to have been so deeply 
played on either side, that it was deemed expedient to sink an incident 
that lowered the honour of a success which was necessary as a set off 
against the charge of dilatoriness and inefficiency. The description 
contained in this despatch, may be received as a correct outline of the 
facts of the siege. The deputy only forgot to mention that the garrison 
was drunk while he was performing his gallant coup de main. For 
the same reason he denied himself the honour of his severely equitable 
dealing with the traitor. But we see no reason to doubt the story of 
the annalists. The reader is fairly entitled to both. Here is the 
official account. 




" The lord deputy and council of Ireland, to king 

Henry VIII. 

" May it please your moost excellent highness to be advertised, that 
I, your deputie, with your armye in thes parties, the 14th day of 
Marche last past, beseaged the castell of Maynuth, which by your traitor 
and rebell, Thomas Fitz-Geralde, was so stronglie fortified, booth with 
men and ordenannce, as the liek hath not been seen in Irelonde synes 
anny your moost nobell progenitors had furst domynion in the lande. 
Ther was within the same, above 100 habill men, whereof wer 60 
gonners. The 1 6th day of the said monith your ordenannce was bent 
upon the north-west side of the dungeon of the same castell, which ded 
baitter the tope therof on that wise, as ther ordenannce within that parte 
was dampned; which doone, your ordenannce was bent upon the northe 
side of the base corte of the said castell at the north-east ende wherof 
ther was new made a very stronge and fast bulwark, well garnisshed with 
men and ordenannce, which the 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22d dayes, 
of the said monith, ded beat the same, by night and daye, on that wise, 
that a great batery and a large enteric was made ther ; whereupon the 
23d day, being Tewsday next before Eister day,* ther was a Galiarde 
assaulte gyven betwixt fower and fyve of the clocke in the morning, 
and the base corte entered. At which entery ther was slayne of the 
warde of the castell aboute 60, and of your grace's armye no more but 
John Griffen yemen of your moost honorable gaurde, and six other, 
which wer killed with ordenannce of the castell at the entree. Howbeit, 
if it had not pleased God to preserve us, it wer to be mervelled that we 
had no more slayne. After the base corte was thus wonne, we assaulted 
the great castell, which within awhile yielded; wherin was the dean 
of Kildare, Cristofer Parys, capitaine of the garysone, Donough 
O'Dogan, maister of thordenannce, Sir Symon Walshe, priste and 
Nicholas Wafer, which tooke tharchbishop of Dublin, with dyvers 
other gunners and archers to the nomber of 37 ; which wer all taken 
prysoners, and ther lifes preserved by appoyntment, until! they shulde 
be presented to me, your deputie, and then to be orderid, as I and 
your counsaill thought good. And considering the high enterprise and 
presumption attempted by them ayenst your grace's crowne and majestie, 
and also that if by anny meane they shuld escape, the moost of theym 
beyng gunners, at some other tyme wold semblablie elliswhear, aide 
your traitors, and be example and meane to others to doo lykewise, we 
all thought expecient and requisite, that they shulde putto execution, 
for the dread and example of others. According wherunto, the Thurs- 
day following, in the morning, they wer examyned, and ther deposi- 
tions written ; and after none the same day arrayned before the pro- 
pheest marshall, and capitaines, and ther, upon ther awne confessions, 
adjudged to die, and ymmediately twenty-five of them heeded, and oon 
hanged. Dyvers of the heedes of the principalles, incontynentlie wer 
put upon the turrettes of the castell. We send your highness here 
inclosed theffect of ther depositions, amonges which there is a priste, 
which was privay with the traitor, deposeth that the Emperor promised 

* In 1335, Easter day fell on the 28ih of March, which fixes the date of this 


to send hether, against your grace, 10,000 men, by the first day of 
Maye. And the kinge of Scottes promised to yeve aide to your rebell 
lykewise. We doo advertise your highnes therof, in discharge of our 
duties, to thintent serche may be made of the furder circumstance 
therof; not doubting but if anny soche thinge be intendid by themperor, 
or kinge of Scottes, your highnes hath some intelligence therof, and 
will provide for it accordingly; for onles aide be sent hither from owt- 
ward parties, this traitor shalbe pursued to his adnoyannce and 
destruction, to the best of our powers we trust to your grace's honor. 
Albeit thenhabitanntes of this lande have an imagination and doubt, 
that he shulde hereafter obteyne your grace's pardone, as his antecessors, 
dyverse tymes, in lyke caases ded, which if, at anny tyme, he shulde, 
wer ther undoyng, as they say. The same causeth dyverse of theym 
to adhere to hym, and others not to doo soche service, as they ells 

The capture of Maynooth decided the fate of lord Thomas. By the 
aid of his friends in the west, he had collected a force of seven thou- 
sand men. Immediately on the report of this important success of the 
English, this army began to fall away, and he was soon reduced to a 
few hundreds: a force insufficient for any purpose but pillage. Even 
with this handful of men, the young Geraldine's spirit of infatuation 
did not yet desert him ; obstinate to the last, he came into the vicinity 
of 'Clare. The lord deputy advanced to Naas: there he took one 
hundred and forty of the Irish. Presently being apprized that the 
lord Thomas was on his march to meet him, he very cruelly ordered 
them to be put to death. The rebels soon came in sight, but as a 
marsh, not to be crossed in the presence of an enemy, lay between, he 
directed a hot fire of artillery, which soon dispersed the remnant of 
their force. It was the last the unfortunate lord Thomas could bring 
together. Still, however, with a pertinacity which strongly shows the 
rashness and infatuation of his disposition, he persevered in hostilities 
which could have no object unless the pride of constancy in ill. He 
exerted himself to collect small parties, and carry on a desultory and 
marauding hostility. At Rathangan he caused a drove of cattle to be 
driven near the town to draw out the English : they fell into this trap. 
Believing the cattle to be a fair booty, numbers of the garrison came 
out unarmed to drive them in. The Geraldine party awaited their 
approach, until they came near their place of concealment, when they 
leaped forth, and few of the English escaped. On another occasion, 
he sent some of his people, disguised in the dress of English soldiers, 
to give information that his party were burning a village near Trim. 
On which the garrison in Trim sallied out, and, falling into an ambush, 
prepared for them, the greater part were slain. 

The unfortunate youth soon retired into Munster ; the pale and its 
vicinity were fast becoming unsafe for him. Lord Grey was sent after 
him; but no result could be looked for, from the weekly skirmishes in 
which a few rebels or soldiers were slain. Lord Thomas easily kept 
himself out of the reach of seizure, but it was become difficult for him 

* State Papers, No. 87, page 236. 


to live; and the crisis was arrived when he should either yield 011 
terms, or be a hunted rohber without means, or the prospect of a 
termination to his misfortunes. Under such circumstances, a parley was 
proposed, and lord Thomas surrendered to lord Grey at discretion, but 
implored his good offices with the king. Lord Grey carried him to 
Dublin, from whence he was embarked for England. He was confined 
in the Tower, where, it appears from the following letter that, his 
sufferings were very severe. 

" Lord Thomas Fitz- Gerald to Rothe. 

" My trusty servant, I hartely commend me unto you. I pray you 
that you woll delyver thys othyr letter unto Obryen. I have sent to 
hym for 20 starling, the which yff he take you (as I trust he woll), 
than I woll that you com over, and bryng it onto my lord Crumwell, 
that I may so have ytt. I never had eny mony syns I cam in to pryson, 
but a nobull, nor I have had nothyr hosyn, dublet, nor shoys, nor shyrt, 
but on ; nor eny othyr garment, but a syngyll fryse gowne, for a velve 
1'urryd wythe bowge, and so I have gone wolward, and barefote, and 
barelegyd, dyverse tymes (whan it hath not ben very warm) ; and so I 
shuld have don styll, and now, but that pore prysoners, of ther gentyl- 
nes, hathe sumtyme gevyn me old hosyn and shoys, and old shyrtes. 
This I write onto you, not as complaynyng on my fryndes, but for to 
show you the trewthe of my grete nede, that you shuld be the more 
dylygent in going onto Obryen, and in bryngyng me the before said 
20, wherby I myght the soner have here mony to by me clothys, and 
also for to amend my sclender comyns and fare, and for othyr neces- 
saryes. I woll you take owte of that you bryng me for your costes and 
labur. I pray you to have me commendyd onto all my lovers and 
frendes, and show them that I am in gude helthe.* 

(Superscribed) " To my trusty and well loved servant, John Rothe." 

It appears that lord Thomas confidently anticipated mercy. But 
this anticipation must seem weak to the reader of the foregoing detail : 
his rebellion was sadly aggravated by the combination of circum- 
stances. His father's character cast an unlucky reflection on the crimes 
and follies of a son who had thus impetuously rushed into rebellion. 
The monarch, who was justly incensed against the conduct of his father 
in a place of high authority and trust, was not likely to look with much 
indulgence on the commission of this trust to a rash youth of twenty-one ; 
and from the frantic folly with which this youth flung all consideration 
of fidelity and duty aside, and rushed from the seat of honour, authority, 
rule, protection, and justice, to the downright betrayal of his father's 
honour, and his own trust, he could not be a safe person to represent 
the most powerful house in Ireland, nor would his pardon be the best 
example of royal mercy in such a time. Further, whether or not lord 
Thomas was a consenting party to the foul murder of archbishop Allen, 
so it was believed, and so ran the sentence of the Roman see, pronouncing 
him accursed for the crime. There were some high features of gene- 

State Papers, letter clviii. Vol ii. p. 502. 


rosity and heroism in his character, but he was a traitor in the eyes of 
justice, which does not, and cannot dive into men's motives, or weigh 
their secret virtues in the halance against their crimes perpetrated in the 
eye of day. In those evil times, in which the license of great Chiefs 
was the main cause of the sufferings of the pale, it was rather the 
error of justice to be lenient; and the impunity of outrages like those 
of this unfortunate young lord, would be a fatal precedent in a coun- 
try which had still to learn that murder and rebellion were not virtues 
but crimes. 

The Lord Thomas had been arrested on his way to Windsor, by the 
king's order, and sent to the Tower. After a short confinement, lie 
was beheaded in Tyburn, with his five uncles, on the 3d February, 


In denying that his suffering has any claim on the historian's com- 
passion, we must add, that the justice of that execrable tyrant by whom 
he was ordered to his fate, was probably the result of no purer princi- 
ple than revenge. We cannot demand much of the reader's " valuable 
indignation" in behalf of good men who were hurried to an ignominious 
and unworthy end, four hundred years ago ; their account has long been 
balanced, and posterity has troubles of its own. But nothing can throw a 
clearer light on the furious and bloodthirsty violence of Henry VIII., 
than the indiscriminate murder of five noble Geraldines, brothers to the 
ninth earl of Kildare. Of these, two were unquestionably guilty and met 
a just death, had it not been inflicted by the foulest treachery; but the 
other three were notoriously innocent, and opposed to the whole pro- 
ceedings of their nephew. These lords were taken by a detestable 
artifice, and executed without trial, or even the form of inquiry 
Lord Grey was commissioned to take them, he invited them to a feast, 
and from the feast they were transferred to the bloody scaffold. Three 
of them in the confidence of innocence, and the unconsciousness of 
a charge; all thinking the blow past, and the tyrant's vengeance 
appeased. The tyrant may, it is true, be said to have had some forecast 
in his fury ; he asked his council if he might not now seize all the lands 
of the country into his own hands, and conquer the whole of it for 
himself. Fortunately, for the descendants of many a noble house, he 
was better advised. But his rage against the Geraldine branch of 
Kildare had been long kindling, and was not to be appeased by a 
sacrifice less than extermination. A young brother of twelve years, 
escaped, and with difficulty was saved from the vengeance of Henry. 
As this youth lived to act a very distinguished part in his own genera- 
tion, we shall have to notice him further on. 




BORN A.D. 1525 DIED A. D. 1585. 

WE concur with Lodge in reckoning 1 this nobleman the eleventh 
carl of Kildare. The reason is sufficiently conclusive. The attainder 
which for a time extinguished the title and honours of this illustrious 
branch of the Geraldines, was not passed for a year and a half after 
the death of the ninth earl; during which time the young lord, his 
eldest son, though in rebellion, was not yet attainted, or by any legal 
act deprived of his rights. 

Gerald was yet but ten (Cox says thirteen) years of age at the time 
of the execution of his half-brother, the lord Thomas. As the rage 
of Henry VIII. blazed with indiscriminate fury against the family of 
Kildare, there could be no doubt that the seizure of this youth would 
at the least be attended with serious danger. The oblivion and secret 
miseries of a dungeon was the least to be expected from a king who 
had butchered his five uncles, of whom three were notoriously innocent 
of the crime alleged. Gerald was, fortunately for him, at the habita- 
tion of his nurse at Donoure, in the county of Kildare, and lying ill 
of the small-pox. The nurse, apprized of his danger, committed him 
to the zeal of Thomas Leverous,* foster-brother to his father, who 
carefully conveyed him in a basket into Offaly to lady Mary O' Conor, 
his sister. There he remained until his recovery. The search after 
him had, however, begun, and his continuance there might be danger- 
ous to his protectors ; concealment was rendered difficult by the system 
of espial and tale-bearing which characterized the intriguing chiefs of 
the time. The child was removed upon his recovery to Thomond, 
then least accessible to the English, and from thence to Kilbritton, in 
the county of Cork, to his aunt, Eleanor Fitz-Gerald, who had married 
Macarthy Reagh, and was at the time a widow. To ensure protection 
for her nephew, this lady consented to marry O'Donell, chief of Tyr- 
conel, in 1537, who was himself a widower, and had that year suc- 
ceeded his father Odo in the chieftainship. With this chief the aunt 
of Gerald stipulated for the protection of her nephew. But O'Donell 
was not to be trusted: his lady soon discovered that he was fickle in 
his politics, destitute of affections, and that he was engaged in secret 
negotiations with the English government. It is probable that she 
was enabled to discover some proof of an actual design to betray her 
nephew ; but it is certain that there was enough of ground for such 
suspicions, to satisfy her that it was no longer safe to continue in his 
power. She therefore sent Gerald away privately into France, having 
given him 140 pieces of gold, for his travelling charges. Having 
thus secured his safety, she had no longer any reason to remain with 
the unworthy husband she had married solely for Gerald's sake, a^d 

* Afterwards bishop of Kildare. 


consulted her indignation and contempt by leaving him: O'Donel] 
never saw her more. Her nephew was long and anxiously sought for, 
though after the first burst of king Henry's fury, it is unlikely that 
any harm would have happened him. On this point, the following 
extract is at least worth notice. It is taken from a paper written by 
St Leger and the other commissioners joined with him in 1537? and 
we should think speaks from authority: 

" Item, whereas young Fitz-Gerald, second sonne to the late earl 
of Kildare, hath withdrawn himself from the king's majesty without 
ground or cause, his grace nothing minding, to the said Gerald Fitz- 
Gerald, but honour and wealth, and to have cherished him as his 
kinsman, in like sort as his other brother is cherished with his mother 
in the realm of England : we require the said lord James of Desmond 
to write unto the said Gerald Fitz-Gerald, advising him in like sorts, 
as his uncle the lord deputie hath done, to submit himself to the king 
his sovereign lord. And if he will not do so at this gentle monicion, 
then to proceed against him and his accomplices as against the king's 
rebels and disobedanntes. Item, if the said Gerald Fitz-Gerald do at 
the monicion of the said lord James of Desmond, submit himself and 
come to the said lord James of Desmond, upon certificate thereof to 
the said commissioners made, we the said commissioners concede, that 
the said Gerald Fitz-Gerald shall have the king's most gracious par- 
don for his said absenting, and for all other offences done to our said 
sovereign lord, and to be from thenceforth taken as the king's true 
and loving subject."* 

From this document it should be inferred, that the course most ob- 
vious, safe, and beneficial for young Gerald, then about fifteen years 
of age, would be a surrender of his person. The first fury of the 
king's resentment had, in the course of two intervening years, been 
cooled; and a youth who could have as yet incurred no personal hos- 
tility, might have reckoned with certainty on the just indulgence thus 
held out in a formal and public pledge. But he was in the hands of 
advisers and protectors who saw the whole matter in a different light, 
and who had other views for him. His situation made him the sub- 
ject of political intrigues, and his own friends were also strongly ac- 
tuated by religious feeling in refusing to submit him to the tuition of 

Fitz-Gerald arrived safely at St Maloes,f and was from thence sent 
to the king of France. There had lately been a peace concluded, and 
it was probably according to some of the articles of a treaty that Sir 
John Wallop, the English ambassador, demanded that he should be 
delivered up. The king of France, unwilling to comply with this de- 
mand, temporized with the ambassador, and suffered Gerald to escape 
towards Flanders. The ambassador received some immediate intima- 
tion of this, and lost no time in having him pursued. He was over- 
taken by Sherlock, the person thus employed, at Valenciennes : but 
the governor of the town, made aware of the king's favourable intent, 
and probably acting upon instructions, arrested Sherlock. Gerald 
thus escaped to Brussels. Here, too, he was pursued, and claimed by 

* State Papers, vol. ii. t Cox. 

i. 2 D Ir. 


the messengers of the same ambassador; he was therefore compelled 
to make his escape to Liege. At Liege he was befriended by the 
emperor, who granted a hundred crowns a-month for his expenses, 
and recommended him to the bishop's protection. 

At Liege he remained safely for half-a-year, at the end of which 
time he had the good fortune to be placed in security from all further 
attempts on his freedom. Cardinal Pole, his kinsman, and the enemy 
of Henry VIIL, sent for him and had him conveyed to Rome, where 
he took every means to have him educated according to his rank and 
future expectations. It is mentioned, that he placed him under the 
care of the bishop of Verona, the cardinal of Mantua, and the duke of 
Mantua, in succession, and gave him an allowance of three hundred 
crowns a-year, to which the duke of Mantua made the like addition. 
At about the age of seventeen, he was removed by his friendly pro- 
tector to his own immediate superintendence, and had apartments 
in his palace in Rome. " The cardinal," writes Hooker, " greatly 
rejoiced in his kinsman, had him carefully trained up in his house, in- 
terlacing, with such discretion, his learning and studies, with exercises 
of activity, as he should not be after accounted of the learned for an 
ignorant idiot, nor taken of active gentlemen for a dead and dumpish 
meacocke. If he had committed any fault, the cardinal would secretlv 
command his tutors to correct him; and all that, notwithstanding he 
would in presence dandle the boy, as if he were not privy to his pun- 
ishment. And upon complaint made, he used to check Fitz-Gerald 
his master openly, for chastising BO severely his pretty darling."* 
Here, his education being completed, when he was twenty years of 
age he was allowed to enter the service of the knights of Malta, in 
which he quickly obtained military distinction. The knights of Malta 
were engaged in continual war against the Turks, and were in the habit 
of making frequent descents on their coasts, from which they often 
carried away plunder to a considerable amount: in this service young 
Gerald not only won great distinction, but also much wealth. The 
cardinal rejoiced in his success ; made a large addition to his allowance, 
and recommended him to the service of Cosmo, the duke of Florence, 
by whom he was appointed master of the horse. His conduct and 
character recommended him to the great duke of Tuscany, from whom 
he received a similar appointment, which he held for the following 
three years. 

Holinshed mentions, that while he was in this service, he met with 
an accident which harmonizes Avell with the vicissitudes of his life. 
Having made a visit to Rome for his amusement, he was hunting in 
company with the cardinal Farneze, when his horse came suddenly 
upon a concealed pit, twenty fathoms deep, and, with his rider, plunged 
headlong down and fell to the bottom. Fortunately for young Gerald, 
he was light, alert, and self-possessed. After going down to a great 
depth, the fall of the horse was slightly impeded by some bushes or 
roots, or perhaps creepers, which had, during the lapse of ages, grown 
down to that depth : he had the thought to grasp at them. The horse 
reached the bottom with full force, and was killed instantaneously by the 

" Sup. to Holinshed's Chron. vol. vi. 



shock: Gerald held fast by the roots, until his arms grew so weary 
that he could hold no longer : he then let himself down, little hoping- to 
escape the fall ; fortunately he had not far to go, and lighted safe on 
the dead carcase of his horse. The situation was still unpromising 
enough. There was no possibility of ascending ; and he stood there, 
up to his ankles in water and in a hopeless condition, for about three 
hours. Providentially he had taken with him a dog, which, after 
hunting about for him a long time to no purpose, at last traced him 
to the chasm into which he had fallen. Stopping there, the faithful 
and sagacious creature set up a long howling, and never stopped until 
he drew the attention of some hunters of the same company. Being 
thus discovered, he was soon extricated by a rope and basket. Cox, 
who tells the story from Hollinshed, rejects it as " a little monkish." 
It may be in a great measure fictitious, but has assuredly nothing 
otherwise monkish in its object or construction. 

While such was the course of his life abroad, he seems to have been 
the object of continued anxiety and unremitting contention both among 
friends and foes at home. The O'Donells, O'Nialls, and other Irish 
chiefs, were loud in menace and expostulation ; and a letter from John 
Allen to Cromwell, in 1539, mentions the threat of these chiefs, "that 
if the king's majestic will not restore young Gerald to all the posses- 
sions and pre-eminence that his father had in this land, they will do 
what they can, if they may have opportunity, to put him in by force."* 
By a letter from Brabazon, of the same date, it appears as if there 
then existed a suspicion that Gerald was actually in the kingdom, and 
consequently a strange ignorance as to his real place of abode ; though, 
if we do not impute the same ignorance to nearly all Irish historians of 
this period, there is no reason to suppose that he returned to Ireland for 
many years from his first escape, until long after the death of king 
Henry. One thing is certain, that his capture was considered as an 
object of the first importance, not only, as Brabazon expresses it, " lest 
this said Gerald Fitz-Gerald may play the like part (with others of 
his party and kinsmen) when he may," but also, on the ground that if 
he were once taken, their power would cease. These notices, and 
many other to the same effect, which from time to time occur through 
the correspondence of the chief Irish officers with the English court, 
indicate undeniably that an importance was attached to this young 
nobleman, which by no means appears in Ware, Cox, Leland, or any 
others of the various historical writers whom we have had occasion to 

In 1544, five years after the mention above referred to, this impres- 
sion seems to be much augmented, and a long letter, exclusively on the 
subject, is written from the Irish lord justice and council to king Henry. 
It informs him, that by letters from Waterford, the council is informed 
that young Gerald is at Nantes, on his way from Italy to invade Ire- 
land, and that he was there awaiting a navy and army, to be supplied 
for the purpose by the French king. This information evidently 
occasioned great alarm to the council, who express their conviction of 
the inadequacy of any means of resistance in their power, or that of 

* State Papers, vol. iii. 



the city of Wateribrd, against which the expedition was supposed to 
be directed. This report seems at the same time to have been trans- 
mitted to the English council, whose communication to the Irish coun- 
cil seems to have reached Ireland before the despatch here noticed 
had been sent off. The information appears to stand chiefly on the 
authority of W. de la Cluse, a person dwelling in " Bridges," whose 
father seems to have kept a house of entertainment for the Irish re- 
sorting thither ; and also certain Wexford men, who being prisoners, 
were offered their freedom on the condition of joining in the service 
of Gerald Fitz-Gerald. The Irish council express their opinion that 
the invasion would be more likely to take place in the country of the 
Macarthies, near the city of Cork ; not only of its being more directly 
in their course, but also on account of the circumstance of one of the 
Macarthys being son to his aunt Eleanor.* 

From the whole tenor of the government correspondence, during the 
latter years of Henry VIII., it is certain that Gerald was for a consider- 
able time the subject of much anxious fear, expectation, and vigilance 
both to his friends and enemies ; but, notwithstanding a few doubtful 
affirmations to the contrary, we should infer that he prudently kept 
aloof, and avoided committing himself in any proceeding which must 
have had the sure effect of barring for ever the remotest possibility 
of his restoration to his family honours and possessions. The death 
of Henry VIII., in 1546, must have been felt to be the promise of 
better days to this young lord. But we cannot, with any certainty, 
trace the favourable turn which his affairs may have taken from 
this time till 1552, when he was taken into royal favour, and restored 
to very considerable portions of the estates of his father. In two 
years more he was created earl of Kildare and baron Offaly; and is 
from this date found taking an active part in the various measures of 
the English government for the reduction of rebellious chiefs, and the 
pacification of the country. 

In 1557 he is mentioned as having joined with the lord lieutenant, 
Sidney, in his campaign against Mac Donnell, a Scot, who had invaded 
the north of Ireland at the head of a strong party of his countrymen. 
Besides the earl of Kildare, the lord lieutenant was accompanied on 
this expedition by the lords Ormonde, Baltinglass, Delvin, Dunsany, 
and Dunboyne. There was no engagement, as the Scots scattered 
before them, and took refuge in the woods. 

In 1561 he persuaded his kinsman O'Neale, then engaged in rebel- 
lious proceedings, to submit to the queen; and generally conducted 
himself with a prudent regard to the interests of the government. 
The events of the remainder of his life are, however, such as to fall 
more appropriately under other heads, as at this time the troubles of 
the pale rose to a dangerous height, and long continued, during the 
restless life of the celebrated Shane O'Neale, and the rebellion of the 
sixteenth earl of Desmond, both of whom we must notice at some length. 
Though Gerald's lands were restored, and his titles conferred anew by 
creation, yet it was not till 1568 that the act of attainder against his 
father's blood was repealed, in a parliament held in Dublin. He was 

* Married to Macarthy of Carbery. 


at this period of his life frequently intrusted with the defence of the 
pale, especially in 1574. In 1579 he joined Sir William Drury against 
the Spanish force which landed in Kerry, to support the earl of Des- 
mond's rebellion ; notwithstanding which services, he was, in the fol- 
lowing year, arrested on suspicion of corresponding with the Leinster 
rebels, and sent with his son, lord Henry Fitz-Gerald, to England, 
where they were thrown into the Tower. On trial, he was fully ac- 
quitted. He was one of the lords present in Sir John Perrot's parlia- 
ment, in 1585, in which year his death took place. 

His eldest son, Gerald, left a daughter, Lettice, who claimed the 
barony of Ophaly as her father's heir. It was after a time adjudged to 
the earls of Kildare. She had married Sir Robert Digby, and was 
created by James I. Lady Digby Baroness Ophaly. We shall notice 
her further in a future page.* 

Sh* jpoaae of 


DIED A. D. 1529. 

OF this powerful nobleman it will be enough to mention, that he 
lived in great power and wealth, apart from the politics, and remote 
from "the power of the English government. These circumstances 
naturally operated on a proud and insubordinate spirit, and he entered 
into two treaties with the foreign enemies of England, which would 
have been fatal in their consequence to any nobleman of the Pale ; but 
from the penalties of which, Desmond was protected by his remote 
southern position, which reduced the power which the English deputies 
could exercise over his conduct, to something merely nominal. Of 
these rebellions, the first was in conjunction with the king of France, in 
1523, and was terminated and detected by a peace made between 
Francis and Henry. The second was a similar correspondence with the 
emperor Charles V., who sent an ambassador to him to move him to 
rebellion. This embassy was, however, rendered abortive by the earl's 
death, in August 1529. He was succeeded in the earldom by an uncle. 

* " Nothing can tetter show the extreme difficulty of writing, even now, on the 
subject of Irish Peerage descents, with any degree of documentary certainty, than 
the following piece of evidence brought forward during the progress of the above 
iamily contest. It is part of a Chancery pleading wherein it is alleged, and was 
not denied or disproved, that no less than four sets of daughters or co-heirs 
had occurred in the family of Kildare, previous to that time, and that none of 
them had inherited the title or dignity of the Parliamentary Barony belonging to 
the Earls of Kildare, which, it seems, always devolved on the next heir male : 
' That the said title or name of dignity of Offaley is not due, or ought not to be 
due, to the said Lady Lettice, although the same had been fee simple in the an- 
cient Earls of Kildare, yet indeed it was not, for that there had been several 
women-heirs-general of that family which ought to have had that title had it been 
in fee simple, 1. namely Annabell and Julian, daughters ?rd heirs to Maurice 
Fitzgerald, and Julian, daughter to Gerald Fitzgerald, ana Elizabeth, daughter 
and heir to Gerald Fitzgerald, ancestor to Gerald, grandfather to the Lady Lettice, 
which Elizabeth was married to the Earl of Ormond ; and lastly, Kathenne, sister 
and heir of Thomas, late Earl of Kildare, who have heirs yet living.' BURKE. 



PIED A.D. 1558. 

THIS earl succeeded his father Thomas, who died of extreme old 
age in 1536. It is perhaps a just inference which we have no means 
to verify, that this earl was himself far advanced in life at the period of 
this event. Immediately on his accession he followed the example of his 
illustrious ancestors by attempting an insurrection in Munster. James, 
viscount Thurles, (afterwards 9th earl of Ormonde,) was immediately 
dispatched against him by lord Grey, and soon reduced him to sub- 
mission wasting his lands, and seizing on his castle of Lough Gur, 
which, as we have already mentioned in our notice of that nobleman, 
he fortified and garrisoned against its lord. Desmond submitted, 
and gave pledges to be a faithful servant to the king, and to do right 
to the rival claimant of his earldom. He had strongly, on this occasion, 
expressed to Grey his wish to submit and his fear of the consequence. 
The lord James Butler, it seems, pretended a claim in right of his 
wife Joan, daughter and heir to the 1 1th earl of Desmond. On this 
account it was, that in the correspondence of James Butler, this can 
of Desmond is always called " the pretended earl." On the subject of 
this claim, Desmond observes that it was to be apprehended, lest by 
a submission to English law his enemy's claim might be unjustly pre- 
ferred. " lest by the favours of the other, he and his blood shall be put 
from their inheritance, which they have possessed, he saith, from the 
conquest."* The deputy in the same communication recommends 
Desmond to favour on strong prudential grounds, both as the best means 
of repressing the natives, and also as a counterbalance to the growing 
power of the house of Ormonde, now freed from the rivalship of the 
other great branch of the Geraldines, by the recent hapless events iu 
that family. 

This view is corroborated strongly by part of a letter afterwards 
written 1542, by lord deputy St Leger to Henry. We extract the 
passage which is interesting for the authentic sketch it presents of the 
actual state of these parties in the reign of Henry VIII.: " It may also 
please your majestic, that where it hath been to me reported, that the 
said M'Cowley, lately the master of your rolls here, should article 
against me that I went about to erect a new Geraldine band (probably 
here referring to lord Thomas's rebellion) ; meaning the same by the 
erle of Desmond. The truth is, I laboured most effectually to bring 
him to your perfect obedience, to my great peril and charge ; and this, 
gracious lord, was the only cause. I saw that now the erle of Kildare 
was gone, there was no subject of your majestie's here meet nor able 
to way (weigh) with the erle of Ormonde, who hath of your majestie's 
gifte, and of his own inheritance, and rule given him by your majesty, 
not only 50 or 60 miles in length, but also many of the chief holds of 
the frontiers of Irishmen ; so that if he or any of his heirs should 
swerve from their duty of allegiance, (which I think verily that he 

* Gray's letter to Cromwell. State Papers, clx. 


will never do,) it would be more hard to daunt him or them than it was 
the said erle of Kildare, who had always the said erle of Ormonde in his 
top, when he would or was like to attempt any such thing. There- 
fore I thought it good to have a Rowland for an Oliver, (&c., &c.)" 

It was probably on these grounds that Desmond was encouraged to 
look for favour and protection from the king. He sailed from Howth 
in the summer of 1542, bearing recommendatory letters from the lord 
deputy St. Leger; and was received with great honour by the king. 
On the same occasion he was also appointed lord high treasurer in 
Ireland, and enjoyed the post during this and the two following reigns. 
He was sworn of the privy council, and deputy St. Leger by the king's 
authority, granted to him and his heirs male St. Mary's abbey to hold 
by the fifth part of a knight's fee : with the condition of forfeiture in 
case of rebellion. 

From this he remained in prosperity and honour till his death in 
1558, at Askeaton, where he was buried in the Franciscan Friary. 


DIED A. D. 1583. 

GERALD, the sixteenth earl of Desmond, " was," as the letter of queen 
Elizabeth expresses it, " not brought up where law and justice had 
been frequented." On his father's death, a violent controversy, which 
had to be determined by arms, arose between him and an elder half- 
brother, Thomas, who, from the colour of his hair and complexion, 
was called " the red," and is spoken of under that name by the Irish 
annalists. Thomas was the son of earl James by his first wife, the 
daughter of lord Fermoy, from whom, soon after the birth of this son, 
he had procured a divorce on the pretence of too near a consanguinity. 
Thomas's claims to the earldom were supported by Thomas, lord 
Kerry, and by the distinguished branches of the Geraldine family, who 
bore, and whose descendants still bear, the romantic titles of the 
White Knight, and the Knight of the Vallies, or as it is now more 
frequently called, of the Glen. In spite of this formidable opposition, 
Gerald succeeded in establishing his claim- was styled and acknow- 
ledged earl of Desmond, and as such sat in the parliament held in 
Dublin, in January, 1559- Thomas, after his unsuccessful attempt, 
retired to Spain, where he died, leaving a son, whose fortunes we shall 
have to record in a later period of our history. The disputed claim 
to the earldom threw Gerald into the hands of his Irish followers, and 
though his rights seem to have rested on grounds familiar to English 
law, yet the necessity of sustaining them by the aid of armed retainers 
compelled hirn^to adopt the wild and lawless life of an Irish chieftain. 
The exigencies of a turbulent life forced him to impose exactions on 
his dependents and neighbours. This course of ruin is one that it is 
painful to relate, as it involves the destruction of the illustrious house 
which he represented. In his extravagant ambition, in his desperate 
defiance of the power of England, and in his traitorous intercourse 
with foreign states, he appears to have been inspired with a wild spirit 


of rash adventure, which exhibited itself in his early contests with the 
powerful family of Ormonde. His first recorded acts were acts of 
aggression upon the Butlers. He sought to charge the Decies in the 
county of Waterford with coigns and livery, black rents and cosherie, 
according to the Irish usages which had become almost the law of the 
Anglo-Irish of the remoter districts. The claim, which even his own 
clansmen resisted as they best could, was sought to be enforced by 
him on the lands of the earl of Ormonde. The retainers of the two 
earls resorted to arms, and a pitched battle was fought between their 
forces at AfFane, in the county of Waterford, on the 15th of February, 
1564, where Desmond lost two hundred and eighty of his men, and 
was himself wounded and taken prisoner. As the exulting followers 
of Ormonde conveyed him from the field, stretched upon a bier, they 
exclaimed with natural triumph, " Where is now the great earl of 
Desmond?" " Where," replied the captive, "where but in his proper 
place? Still upon the necks of the Butlers."* 

The dissensions between the Butler? and Geraldines kept Munster 
in such a state of utter lawlessness, that in the course of the next y ear- 
both earls were summoned to London to account for their unwarrant- 
able conduct. They were examined before the privy council, where 
their narratives of the disputes between them were so wholly irrecon- 
cilable that no order could be made, and under the circumstances the 
case was referred to the privy council of Ireland. While the earls 
were engaged in mutual accusations in England, their followers in 
Ireland did not cease to carry on hostilities. The lands of Ormonde 
were invaded by John, a brother of Desmond's ; villages were burned, 
and a brother of Ormonde's slain. This did not interrupt the adjust- 
ment of the differences between the rival earls. The privy council 
of Ireland shrank from deciding the matter, and urged both to submit 
to the queen's award, to which they agreed; and for their obedience 
thereto, and preserving peace, they entered into recognizances of 
twenty thousand pounds each. A commission under the broad seal of 
England was thereupon directed to Sir Henry Sidney (who had been 
lately sent over as lord-deputy) to take their examinations, and the 
queen wrote a private letter to Sidney, which is still preserved. This 
extraordinary document, amid much that is obscure, and much that 
is susceptible of more than one interpretation, contained passages that 
show decided hostility to Desmond. She tells Sidney 'to "make some 
difference betwixt tried and just, and false friends; let the good service 
of well-deservers never be rewarded with loss ; let their thanks be such 
as may encourage new strivers for the like ; suffer not that Desmond's 
dinning deeds, far wide from promised words, make you trust for 
other pledge than either himself or John" [his brother, afterwards 
styled Sir John Desmond] " for gage. He hath so well performed his 
English vows, that I warn you trust him no longer thun you see one 
of them. I pray God your old strange sheep, late as you say, returned 
into the fold, wear not her wooly garment on her wolfy back" Sidney, 
who appears to have felt what was the duty of an arbitrator better 
than his royal mistress, when he saw how strongly she was affected 

* Leland. 


against Desmond, declined to undertake the investigation of a case 
thus prejudged, unless other commissioners were sent from England 
to assist him. His letter to Cecil is manly and memorable : " I assure 
you, sir, if I served under the cruellest tyrant that ever tyrannized, and 
knew him affected on the one side or the other side, between party 
and party, and referred to my judgment, I would rather offend his 
affection, and stand to his misericord, than offend my own conscience, 
and stand to God's judgment. Therefore, I beseech you, let me have 
others joined with me." His request of additional commissioners was 
complied with. One of the points in controversy was the right to the 
profit of prize wines at Youghal and Kingsale, which both earls 
claimed under grants from the crown. Another subject of litigation 
was the boundaries of their respective estates. In enforcing their 
respective demands, many outrages had taken place : seizures of cattle 
had been made, which in a peaceful state of society, and with courts 
of law competent to decide between the parties, might have been 
but a mode of asserting a right to property in the ground on which 
they pastured, but late acts of the Irish parliament had made such 
seizures punishable as treason; blood had been frequently shed in the 
violent altercations between the clansmen of the mighty rivals, and 
each had a long catalogue of inexpiable offences to charge against 
the other. Ormonde took the bold ground of defending the affray 
at Affane, by pleading that he had levied his forces for the defence 
of the country against Desmond; that having gone, at Sir Maurice 
Fitz-Gerald's request, into his country, and travelling quietly within 
a mile of Drumana, Sir Maurice's residence, the earl of Desmond, 
accompanied by numbers of proclaimed traitors and Irish rebels, set 
upon him, and that he was obliged, in self-defence, to kill several of 
Desmond's people. The commissioners sought to effect a recon- 
ciliation. The question of boundaries they determined in favour of 
Ormonde. A part of their award required the contending earls to 
shake hands, and they met for the purpose in the chapter-house of St 
Patrick's church, Dublin, where two centuries after, an aperture in the 
old oak door was still shown as cut on the occasion for the purpose 
of enabling them with safety to perform this part of the award, each 
fearing to be poignarded by the other. 

A reconciliation such as this did not promise much for the future 
harmony of the newly-made friends. A year of quiet followed, and if 
depredations were committed, they have not been recorded by our 
authorities. The villages of Ormonde had to be rebuilt before they 
could be again burned; and the Abbe M'Geogeghan, the historian who 
most loves to dwell upon the exploits of Desmond and his followers, 
leads us to think it not unlikely that for about a year and a half the lands 
of Ormonde were allowed to remain undisturbed. Desmond, however, 
was not idle. An expedition of his is mentioned with no measured 
terms of praise, against McCarthy Riogh, and the M'Carthys of 
Duhallow, in the county of Cork; and he was next engaged against 
Edmond M'Teague, the son of M'Carthy of Muskerry, by whom he 
was taken and kept in prison for six months. 

The M'Carthys were at this time in rebellion, and it is not impro- 
bable that Desmond made a merit of these services against them to the 


English government. lie no sooner was released from prison, than 
we find him, at the head of an army of two thousand men, encamped 
on the frontiers of Ormonde's county. The lands of Ormonde's friends. 
the lords Barry and Roche, and Sir Maurice Fitz-GeraJd, and the 
Decies, were plundered for the supply of his men. Sidney, who was 
then engaged against O'Neale in the north of Ireland, could not under- 
take an expedition to Munster, to quell these disturbances. Desmond's 
pretence for keeping such an army on foot was his private quarrel with 
Ormonde ; but the deputy had strong reason to fear that he was pre- 
paring to act in concert with O'Neale. He dispatched Captain Herne, 
the constable of the castle of Leighlin, to learn from Desmond his 
objects, and to remind him of his duties to the queen. Desmond pro- 
posed as a proof of his allegiance, or Sidney demanded it, that he should 
attend him into Ulster with all his men, or remain upon the borders 
of the pale, for its defence, with a party of horse, during the deputy's 
absence. Desmond did not hesitate to obey he marched with his 
brother John of Desmond to the frontiers of Leinster. 

In the beginning of the following year, 1567, Sidney made a pro- 
gress through Munster and Connaught. The chief object of his 
journey was to hear the respective complaints of the earls, who were 
still at war Ormonde continuing to urge upon the queen complaints 
of Desmond's violence and Sidney's partiality. At Youghal, Sidney 
examined into some late acts of depredation, and ordered Desmond to 
make reparation for a prey of cattle which he had taken on Ormonde's 
lands. Desmond replied with violence, and was told that, by this 
breach of the peace, the recognizance which he had entered into for 
twenty thousand pounds was forfeited. The affront, as he esteemed 
it, was resented by Desmond, who did what he could to prevent the 
leading persons of the district from attending the deputy during 
his progress. Sidney heard of Desmond's outrages, and saw vestiges 
of ruin wherever he went. One of his letters says, " that the county 
of Cork was the pleasantest county he had ever seen, but was most 
miserably Avaste and uncultivated; the villages and churches burned 
and ruined, the castles destroyed, and the bones of the murdered and 
starved inhabitants scattered about the fields ;" he adds that " a prin- 
cipal servant of Desmond's, after he had burned down several villages, 
and destroyed a large tract of the country, put a parcel of poor women 
to the sword, and that soon after this cruel fact the earl feasted him 
in his house." M'Carthy More, who had, two years before, been 
created earl of Clancare, and Sir Owen O'Sullivan, were among those 
whom Desmond persuaded to refuse paying any civilities to the deputy. 
Desmond himself was compelled by the nature of the investigation 
which brought Sidney to the country, to attend him in his progress, 
but he seems to have lost no opportunity of expressing the scorn with 
which he regarded, or tried to regard him. " For every Irish soldier 
that he now kept," he proudly boasted " that before long he would 
maintain five; and that before midsummer he would take the field 
with five thousand men." Such was the haughty reply of Desmond, 
when questioned on the ravages which were exhibited on every step of 
the deputy's progress. 

This bickering altercation could not last long, and it is probable 


that some violent attack upon Sidney was meditated. When they ap- 
proached Kilmallock, one of the earl's principal strongholds, the 
deputy was startled at hearing 1 that all Desmond's people were up in 
arms. The earl was at no loss for an excuse, when the cause of this 
sudden rising was enquired into. He said it was for the purpose of 
seizing O'Brien O'Goonagh and the White Knight, two of his followers, 
who had committed some outrages and whose persons the deputy had 
demanded. The calmness with which Sidney had hitherto listened 
to all Desmond's grievances, and the forbearance with which he en- 
dured his repeated insults, seem to have misled the earl into the 
notion that such easy credulity could be imposed upon to any extent, 
for the White Knight and O'Brien were at the head of the tumultuary 
bands. When this was stated in reply to Desmond's pretences, he 
threw himself upon his knees he asked pardon of the deputy, and 
offered to disperse them with a word. Sidney, whose temper had been 
tried beyond endurance, could no longer disguise his loathing and 
contempt for the suppliant whom he saw fawning at his feet. He 
told him, " disperse them or not as you please ; my men are two hun- 
dred, and if one act of mine be interrupted by this army of your's, I 
shall give them battle; but know, you are my prisoner; your life 
shall be the instant forfeit of any hostile movement of theirs." The 
earl was removed from his presence, was instantly confined, and in 
the same hour sent prisoner to Limerick, from thence to Galway, and, 
under a charge of high treason, to Dublin. 

Sidney appears to have found himself in some difficulty from the 
very extensive rights granted in former reigns to the ancestors of 
Desmond. Desmond was an earl palatine, and as such had privileges 
which made him little less than a sovereign, and which, within his 
palatinate, rendered almost every act which was requisite for the pur- 
pose of good government illegal, or of doubtful legality. This diffi- 
culty seems to have been Sidney's best excuse for appointing John of 
Desmond, whom he knighted on the occasion, seneschal of Desmond. 
He associated with him an old soldier of high character, Henry Davern, 
or Davels, for the name is differently written, and Andrew Skiddey. 
Their commission was to govern the counties of Cork, Limerick, and 
Kerry, during the earl's imprisonment. The earl was soon after sent 
into England, and Sidney pressed upon the government the necessity 
of appointing a president of Munster. " Desmond," said the deputy 
in an official letter, " is a man both void of judgment to govern, and 
will to be ruled. The earl of Clancare is willing enough to be ruled, 
but wanted a force and credit to rule." In the same communication 
he condemns the absurd system of keeping up dissensions among the 
Irish, the miserable policy which had hitherto been pursued, and which 
English statesmen justified to themselves by their fear that union 
among the Irish would lead to universal revolt. 

Sir John Desmond did not disappoint the confidence which the de- 
puty placed in him. During the few months for which he was left in 
power, he made reparation to the amount of three thousand pounds 
for injuries done by the earl. Ormonde, however, who feared that 
John would soon prove as troublesome as his brother, and whose in- 
terest with the queen was undiminished. found means to make such 



representations of Sidney's conduct in the contests and negotiations 
with the Desmonds, that no notice was taken, in the public dispatches 
addressed to him, of the victories in the north of Ireland. The war 
with O'Neale in Ulster was regarded in England as but a scuffle 
with a beggar and an outlaw, unworthy of attention. The public letters 
to Sidney, written under the influence of Ormonde's representations, 
were filled with reprimands for his endurance of the insolence of Des- 
mond. Sidney, whose services, more particularly in his repressing the 
Ulster disturbances, were valued in Ireland, where the good effects of 
his government were felt, was offended, and earnestly entreated to 
be recalled; he at length, with great difficulty, obtained permis- 
sion to return to Engjand to explain the character of his government 
in Ireland. He presented himself at the court of Elizabeth, attended 
by his prisoner the earl of Desmond, by the son of the late baron 
of Dungannon, by O'Conor Sligo, O'Carroll, and other chieftains 
of Irish birth, whom he had reduced, or won into allegiance to the 
queen. Dungannon and O'Carroll were favourably received, their 
submissions accepted, and they were permitted to return to Ireland. 
O'Conor was for a while confined in the Tower; but the difficulties 
which prevented his immediate release seem to have been n>erely 
with regard to the form of his submission, for he was soon after 
set at liberty. The chieftains of Irish blood and birth were in all 
cases distinguished from the descendants of English settlers and 
O'Carroll and the others were regarded by Elizabeth as conquered 
enemies, or princes of barbarous tribes, negotiating with a state to 
which they owed no natural allegiance. The law of England was, 
properly speaking, the law but of the English colonists in Ireland. 
Even in the theoretic view of lawyers, it did not apply to any of the 
Irish blood, except such as from time to time purchased letters of 
denization, or executed deeds of submission. Thus the submission of 
an Irish chieftain, his acceptance of a grant of his lands from the 
crown, or of an English title of honour, was in substantial effect an 
extension of the power of England. The English settlers and their 
descendants were, on the contrary, in the eye of the law, subjects of. 
England, colonists, who received protection from the parent state, and 
owed it allegiance. The Geraldines of Desmond, though in every 
thing they adopted the manners of the Irish among whom they lived, 
till they were regarded as " more Irish than the Irish," were viewed in 
England as rebellious subjects whom no ties of gratitude could attach 
as wily traitors, who but watched their moment to disown all depen- 
dence upon England. John of Desmond was arrested and brought to 
London he, with the earl, was sent to the Tower, where they endured 
a tedious imprisonment of two years. On the llth July, 1570, Des- 
mond's submission to the queen was accepted ; " he laid his estate at 
her feet, promised to convey what parts she pleased to accept of," and 
acknowledged his recognisance of 20,000 to be forfeited. He and 
his brother were remanded to Ireland. 

During Sidney's absence the disturbances in Ireland increased. 
Butlers and Geraldines were at their unceasing work of mutual out- 
rage and depredation. O'Mores and O'Conors brought into the field 
a thousand gallowglasses, and threatened to burn Kilkenny, O'Carroll's 


country. The lords justices, who held the sword of state in Sidney's 
absence, deceived themselves by thinking they were acting with vigour 
in issuing proclamations against the insurgents. The proclamations 
but increased the evil the government thus provoking into despera- 
tion those whom it was too weak to punish. M'Carthy, who had but 
lately submitted to hold his lauds on an English tenure, and to accept 
an English title, seems to have repented him of the appearance of 
submission, and his acts appear almost to have been inspired by the 
intoxication of sudden madness. Desmond's imprisonment led him to 
arrogate for himself the dominion of the south of Ireland, He styled 
himself king of Munster, and right royally did he use his power. 
Assisted by O'Sullivan More and the M'Swineys, he invaded, in warlike 
array, and with banners displayed, the territory of the Roches. The 
records of the period tell of his burning the country before him, and 
destroying all the corn therein of his slaughtering great numbers of 
men, women and children of his returning in triumph with a prey of 
seven hundred sheep, fifteen hundred kine, and a hundred horses. 
Fitz-Maurice of Desmond was at war with Fitz-Maurice of Lixnaw 
a private quarrel, but one which involved a district. In Cashel there 
were two competitors for the archbishoprick, and each had his advo- 
cates. James M'Caghwell had been placed there by Elizabeth 
Maurice Gibbon Reagh challenged the see as appointed and conse- 
crated to it by the pope. The Romish bull, aided by the Irish dagger, 
was nearly successful. Maurice, of Cashel, that would be, when his 
right was denied by the occupant of the archiepiscopal throne, rushed 
upon the bishop with an Irish skean or dagger, and so wounded him 
that his life was for a while regarded as in danger. 

On Sidney's return to Dublin he convened a parliament. On the 
1 7th of January they met. Hooker, who sat in that parliament, tells us 
that the scene was more like a bear-beating than a parliament of wise and 
grave men. The great object of assembling the legislature was to do 
away with the ancient customs and exactions which had for ever in- 
terfered with the influence of the English crown, and to extend the 
English law to districts of Ireland in which it had not yet been re- 
ceived. The ecclesiastical reformation of the country was also an 
anxious object with the government. Fierce opposition was antici- 
pated, and means were taken to secure a majority in the lower house, 
which gave the opponents of the measures of government strong grounds 
on which to place their resistance. Writs had been directed to towns 
not corporate, and which had never before been summoned to return 
members to parliament. In many places the sheriffs and mayors 
of corporate towns returned themselves. A number of Englishmen were 
also returned, who were totally unknown to the corporations which 
they were said to represent; the law, it was insisted, required that 
they should be residents. 

The country party, as they called themselves, succeeded in the two 
first objections. The third was, after taking the opinion of the judges, 
determined against them, and this left the government a sufficient 
number to carry their measures. 

These measures appear, like all those of Sidney, to have been con- 
ceived with wisdom. The lands of O'Neale, forfeited by late treasons, 



were declared to be vested in the crown many of his followers were 
pardoned and suffered to retain their lands, but with the incidents of 
English tenure. The chancellor was empowered to appoint commis- 
sioners for viewing all territories not reduced to English counties, and 
the deputy authorized, on their certificates, to reduce them into shires. 
It was also enacted, that no person should assume the Irish title or 
authority of chieftain or captain of his country, but by letters patent 
from the crown. The chief governor and council were also em- 
powered to grant letters patent, whereby all those of the Irish O A de- 
generate English race, who were disposed to surrender their lauds, 
might be again invested with them, so as to hold them of the crown 
by English tenure. Other acts of great importance, and which pre- 
pared for the gradual civilization of Ireland, were passed in this par- 
liament, but the distractions of the country prevented their having 
any immediate effect. 

We pursue our narrative of the fated house of Desmond. 

The early years of Elizabeth's reign were distracted by numberless 
conspiracies. The sentence of Rome had been twice solemnly pro- 
nounced, deciding against the validity of Henry's marriage with the 
mother of Elizabeth, and by necessary consequence denying her legi- 
timacy. Elizabeth, on her sister's death, wrote to Sir Edward Carne, 
the English ambassador at Rome, to communicate her accession to 
the pope. The pontiff's reply was haughty and intemperate. He 
told Carne that " England was a fief of the Holy See ; that, be- 
ing illegitimate, Elizabeth could not possibly inherit." Elizabeth 
instantly recalled her ambassador. Negotiations, however, to which 
England was no party, but in the result of which the fate of 
England and Elizabeth was supposed to be deeply involved, continued 
to be carried on at the papal court. The sovereigns of France and 
of Spain were at the time engaged in a game of diplomacy, and 
England was the stake for which they played. On the supposition of 
Elizabeth's illegitimacy, Mary Stuart, (queen of Scots,) who had been 
lately married to the French Dauphin, was the rightful queen of 
England ; and on Mary of England's death, the queen of Scots and 
her husband assumed openly the arms of England. In this assumption 
they were countenanced and supported by the king of France, who 
was secretly soliciting a bull of excommunication against Elizabeth. 
Philip of Spain, the consort of the late queen of England, immediately 
upon her death, made proposals of marriage to Elizabeth, which it 
was Elizabeth's policy to allow her Roman Catholic subjects to believe 
were not altogether unfavourably received; and Philip had such 
hopes of ultimate success, that his agents were actively engaged at 
Rome in endeavouring to procure a dispensation to enable their mas- 
ter to marry his deceased wife's sister. The ecclesiastical state of 
England was such as to leave serious grounds of anxiety to the favourers 
of the doctrines of the Reformed Church. The bishops had been for 
the most part appointed during the reign of Mary, and so powerful 
was the effect of the sentence of Rome, denying the validity of Henry's 
marriage with Anne Bullen, that no archbishop would assist at the 
ceremonial of Elizabeth's coronation. It was a time when men's 
minds were violently agitated by controversies on subjects, the deep 


importance of which can never die away; and it would be injustice to 
the actors in the scenes which we relate, to suppress the mention of 
the feelings by which they were inspired, and which give their true 
interest to what, in the language of Milton, would otherwise be of as 
little moment as an account of " the battles of kites and crows." The 
court of Rome acted, during the pontificate of Paul and of his imme- 
diate successors, in the feeling that England might be recovered to 
the Catholic church. Pius IV. sent two of the order of Jesuits into 
Ireland as his legates, besides those whom the general of the order 
had already placed there. Those whom Pius chose for this delicate 
mission were men of opposite characters : Paschase Broet was remark- 
able for serenity of temper, great cheerfulness, open candour, and 
steady prudence qualities which had won the regard of Loyola, who 
named the young enthusiast his angel ; Alphonso Salmeron was the 
other, described as powerful of voice and pen a fiery champion of 
the church. These missionaries are described as acting with the 
enthusiasm of young and ardent devotees against the efforts of the 
English to introduce the doctrines of the reformation into Ireland. 
In a plausible document which praises their zeal, they are described 
as exciting insurrection wherever they went ; " their exertions," it is 
mildly said, " became dangerous to those whom they attached to their 
cause." The view which was taken of their conduct in England is 
thus recorded in a document of the state council of the period : " What 
an abuse is this to bear us in hand that no harm is meant by the 
pope, when already he hath done as much as in him lieth to hurt 
us; the pope, even at this instant, hath his legate in Ireland, who is 
already joined with certain traitors there, and occupied in stirring a 

We have already described the distractions of the south of Ireland. 
In such circumstances as Munster was now placed by the absence 
of Desmond, and by the want of any effective power of control in the 
lords justices, it is not astonishing that the disaffected there, having 
strong bonds of union with the continental states in their common 
hostility to the doctrines of the reformation, should look abroad for 
assistance ; and accordingly we find swarms of Irish adventurers, at this 
period, in every court in Europe. France, Spain, and Rome, seemed 
to listen to every tale that gave them the hope, with Irish aid, to 
recover England to the Holy See. In addition to the military adven- 
turers, whom the love of excitement, and the hope of interesting 
foreign powers by the proofs which they were able to bring of the 
certainty of support from Ireland in any meditated invasion of the 
British dominions, the state of ecclesiastical affairs in Ireland created 
another body of residents from that country in the courts of every 
country which remained united to the Papal See. As soon as Eliza- 
beth had declared for the reformation, the bishops appointed in Mary's 
reign, who refused to conform to the new arrangements, were dis- 
placed. Their ecclesiastical title of bishops still remained, and they 
continued to style themselves bishops of the sees to which they had 
been consecrated, but from which they were forced to remove. As 

* Sharon Turner's Elizabeth. Lord Somers's Tracts. 


vacancies in church dignities occurred by death, Elizabeth filled the 
places with churchmen favourable to the reformed doctrines; and the 
papal court, denying her right, appointed to the same dioceses bishops 
of its own. The Romish claimants of episcopal rank and authority 
resided abroad, and were active agents of the disaffected in Ireland. 
While Desmond was still a prisoner in the Tower, the earl of Clancare, 
James Fitz-Maurice, M'Donough Carthy, and others, held a meeting 
in Kerry, from whence they dispatched their bishops of Emley and 
Cashel for aid to the king of Spain, " to reform religion," and the 
immediate result of the mission was a supply, from the king of Spain, 
of a thousand targets, a great number of sword-blades, harquebusses, 
and other weapons.* The insurrections in Ireland during the early 
years of Elizabeth's reign, frantic as they may seem, if regarded as 
the rebellion of Irish clans against the sovereignty of England, were 
far from being such rash enterprises. Ireland was but one of the 
fields of battle, on which the great powers of Europe seemed disposed 
to try the question of the right to the crown of England, The bull 
of excommunication which all Catholic princes were invited to execute, 
had been already issued against Elizabeth. The same policy, which 
in a few years after fitted out the Armada, from the moment when 
Philip had lost all hopes of obtaining England by marriage, animated 
the counsels of Spain. Looking at the history of those times from the 
vantage-ground of the present, we feel that the heart of England being 
with Elizabeth, there could have been but little chance of a successful 
invasion; but, dignified as her bearing was, and well calculated to 
inspire the continental nations with that awe of England which they 
have since learned, there was much at the moment to alarm much 
to create great doubt as to the event. The interests of religion at 
stake gave a character of sublimity to the contest, not less likely to 
affect those who regarded the reformation as a violent disruption of 
Christian unity, than the advocates of the reformed doctrines. The 
language of detestation in which Elizabeth is spoken of, both in the 
papal bulls and in the writings of the Reman Catholics of the period, 
is evidence of the intensity of feeling under which men acted at the 

The agents of Spain practised successfully on the mind of James 
Fitz-Maurice, whom the imprisonment of his kinsman, the earl, had 
at once irritated, and inspired with the hope of succeeding to the vast 
estates and power of the family. James Fitz-Maurice O'Desmond, as 
his name is sometimes written, was the son of Sir Maurice Fitz-Gerald, 
the Slack, as he was called, or more often the Murderer, from his 
having slain James, the thirteenth earl. Between Fitz-Maurice and 
the title of Desmond, according to the English laws of succession, 
there were none except the earl and his brothers. In more peaceful 
times, wilder dreams of succeeding to property less important have 
been indulged and realised. Fitz-Maurice, a faithful clansman, was yet 
one of a family seeking to assimilate themselves to Irish habits and 
manners, and if the law of tanistry, which on the vacancy of the chief- 
tainry by death or otherwise, gave the sovereignty over the family to 

* Sidney's Letters. 


the most worthy of the name and blood, suggested to him the hope of 
attaining this honour; and even before the death of Desmond, it was but 
the natural suggestion of the circumstances in which he was placed. He 
was a man of popular talents, and as it answered his purposes, lie 
courted popularity; "a deep dissembler, passing subtile, and able to 
compass any matter he took in hand, courteous, valiant, expert in. 
martial affairs," ardently attached to his views of religion. Such is the 
character which Hooker, a writer not willing to allow any merit- to 
the unhappy Geraldines, gives to this distinguished man, who squan- 
dered his talents and his life in these miserable wars. 

The communications of the insurgents in the south of Ireland with 
Spain were soon learned by the government. The lord-deputy at 
once proclaimed them traitors, and prepared for an expedition against 
them. Sir Peter Carew, who commanded at Kilkenny, made the first 
assault against the insurgents by taking Cloughgrennan, a castle of 
Sir Edmond Butler's, which he gave to be plundered by his soldiers. 
He returned to Kilkenny, and was not many days there when, as he- 
was walking in his garden, he was fired at by a man of the earl of 
Ormonde's. More surprise is expressed at the incident than ought to 
have been felt. While Carew remained at Kilkenny, news was 
brought him that the rebels were encamped in great numbers three 
miles from the town. Carew held a council with his officers, and they 
agreed to send out to ascertain the truth of the matter. Henry 
Davels, an " honest and a valiant English gentleman," * who had 
served long in Ireland, and whose marriage connected him with Kil- 
kenny, was appointed to this service. From an eminence near the 
town he espied a company of about two thousand men resting upon a 
little hill in the middle of a plain, being all armed and marching in 
battle array. When he returned with this report, Carew directed 
Captain Gilbert to charge them. Gilbert, with Davels and twelve 
others of the company, galloped before the rest and gave the charge. 
Carew followed so near " that all the company, even as it were at one 
instant, gave the like charge." Four hundred Irish soldiers were 
slain in the first onset ; most of the remainder were butchered in their 
flight to the neighbouring mountains " of her majesty's side no one 
man was slain." 

Sir Peter Carew returned to Kilkenny exulting in this victory. 
Hooker describes every captain and soldier of his company as carry- 
ing two gallowglasses' axes in his hands, which they brought home as 
the spoils of a vanquished enemy. " The townsmen of Kilkenny were 
very sorry for the slaughter of so many men." It seems difficult to be- 
lieve this utter destruction of nearly two thousand men in arms without 
the loss of one man on the part of the conqueror. That many of the 
Irish were surprised and slaughtered appears certain, and the mad- 
dened natives were, ere long, in the field seeking bloody revenge. 
They besieged Kilkenny. The town was garrisoned and well defended, 
and the disappointed insurgents burned and plundered the small towns 
and villages in the open country. They overran and spoiled the 
county of Waterford, and even of Dublin. After " they had taken 

* Hr.ok.-r. 
: - 2 E Ir. 


their pleasure in this country," they went to the county of Wexibnl. 
Ruffian outrages, committed at the fair of Enniscorthy, are particularly 
recorded violation of women, and unsparing slaughters from thence 
they went into Ossory and the Queen's County, and ravaged the 
country. In Ossory they met with the earl of Clancare and Fitz- 
Maurice, with whom they combined. They made arrangements for 
procuring aid from Scotland, and sending new messengers to the 
pope, and the king of Spain. All Ireland, with the exception of the 
English pale, is described as " imbrued and infected with this rebel- 

The earl of Ormonde, who was in England during the commence- 
ment of these disturbances, did what he could to satisfy the queen that 
the danger was not so great as it appeared; his own high sense of 
loyaltv was deeply offended by his brothers' participating in the out- 
rages ; he pleaded for them with the queen, and besought her permis- 
sion to serve in Ireland against them, if he could not otherwise reclaim 
them to allegiance. Elizabeth, who doubted not the good faith of the 
earl, confided to him the important trust which he sought. He arrived 
at Wexford on the 14th of August, 1569, the very day on which the 
frightful outrages were committed at the fair of Enniscorthy. Sidney 
had already gone down to the south, by his presence " to encourage the 
well affected, and to terrify the enemies of government." Ormonde 
found him encamped near Limerick, and brought with him his brother, 
Edmond Butler, in bonds. The first show of activity on the part of 
government was sufficient to disunite the insurgents. The earl of 
Clancare, who had so lately styled himself king of Munster, falling 
upon his knees, acknowledged his treason, and prayed her majesty's 
pardon, and surrendered his eldest son as a hostage to insure his 
fidelity. O'Brien, earl of Thomond, still held out ; but on hearing of 
the approach of Ormonde's army, he fled to France. Through the 
intervention of Norris, the English ambassador at that court, he after- 
wards obtained his pardon. 

In 1570, presidency courts of Munster and Connaught were esta- 
blished, in pursuance of Sidney's earnest recommendation. Sir John 
Perrot was the first president of Munster. He was reputed to be the 
natural son of Henry VIII., and to have inherited much of his father's 
character. From whatever source he may have derived his blood, 
he inherited from the Pembrokeshire family, whose name he bore, con- 
siderable revenues; he was not only wealthy, " but" says Hooker, 
" valiant and of great magnanimity, and so much the more meet to 
govern and tame so faithless and unruly a people as those over whom 
he was made ruler." The president's authority was, in his own district, 
all but absolute. He had power of life and death, was attended with 
armed guards of horse and foot, and his patent gave him the command 
of all the military forces in the province. Like the viceroy, he could 
confer the honour of knighthood. With the assistance of his chief 
justice and second justice, he had authority to hear and determine ail 
complaints, to hold commissions of oyer and terminer and gaol de- 
livery, and to hold his courts where he thought proper. All persons 
who had not freehold property worth five pounds a -year, or personal 
property of ten pounds, might be tried for any offence with which 



they were charged, by martial law ; and the president had authority 
to call on any loyal subject to assist him in prosecuting rebels with 
fire and sword. He could hear and decide all complaints against 
officers, civil and military, throughout his province, and punish the 
offenders at his discretion. His authority extended to putting persons, 
accused of high treason, to torture for the purpose of extracting con- 
fessions of guilt or accusations of their accomplices. He had also the 
right of reprieving all condemned persons. In short, in his own district, 
he had all the powers of viceroy. Like the viceroy, he had his coun- 
cil and his staff of officers, civil and military.* Perrot, says Hooker, 
was well acquainted with the character of the people among whom he 
was to serve; he knew that he " had to do with a sort of nettles, 
whose nature is, that being handled gently they sting, but being hard 
crushed together, they will do no harm." " The sword, and the law," 
he adds, " were the foundation of his government: by the one he per- 
secuted the rebel and disobedient, and by the other he ruled and 
governed in justice and judgment." The reduction of the rebels was 
necessarily the first of these duties, and never were unfortunate men 
followed by keener bloodhounds than those that pursued the wretched 
inhabitants of Desmond's territories. Perrot followed and chased them 
through all their hiding places: "in the bogs he pursued them, in 
the thickets he followed them, in the plains he fought with them, and 
in their castles and holds he besieged them." Fitz-Maurice, at last, tired 
and wearied out with this unremitting chase, was obliged to surren- 
der. He flung himself at the feet of the president in Kilmallock, which 
town he had a few months preceding burnt and plundered, having 
executed the sovereign and several of the townsmen.")" He made his 
submission in the church, in the sight of all the people, kneeling before 
Perrot, who held the point of his sword to Fitz-Maurice's heart. This 
painful humiliation was intended to express that he owed his life to the 
mercy of the queen. Perrot, though he held out hopes of pardon to Fitz- 
Maurice, retained him as a prisoner his followers he executed in great 
numbers. When order was in some degree restored, he made circuits 
through Munster, and held sessions and courts, and in a short time 
restored such confidence or inspired such fear that, " whereas, no man 
could before pass through the country without danger of being robbed 
or murdered, and no man durst turn his cattle into the fields without 

* We transcribe Fynes Morrison's statement of the expense of the presidency 
of Munster in the year 1598. The scale of expense in Perrot 's time was not pro- 
bably materially different : 

President's salary .... 133 

His diet with the Council at his table . . . 520 

Retinue of 20 foot and 30 horse . . . 803 

Chief Justice . . 100 

Second Justice ... . . . . . 66 

Queen's Attorney ... . .13 
Clerk of Council" ...... 20 

Clerk of Crown 20 

Serjeant- at- Arms ...... 20 

Provost Martial 




255 10 

.1951 16 6 

t Smith's History of Kerry. 



watch; now every man with a white stick only iu his hand, and with 
great treasures, might, and did travel without fear or danger where 
he would, and the white sheep did keep the black, and all the beasts 
lay continually in the fields without any stealing or preying."* 

Among the more anxious cares of the president, it is not without 
surprise that we find his attention directed to assimilating the dress of 
the Irish to English forms and patterns. If the cloak of the Irish 
peasant could be converted to one-half the uses which Spenser ascribes 
to it: a bed by night a tent by day and defending the wearer alike 
from the inconveniences of heat and cold we are not surprised that all 
the efforts of legislation failed to make the Irish give up a garment so 
suitable to their uncertain climate, and to their mode of life, which ex- 
posed them with little other shelter to its many changes. The war against 
their costume, and their modes of wearing the huu, which afterwards 
occupied the statesmen of James the First's time, was now earnestly 
fought by Perrot. He dealt with the disobedient in such matters as 
with traitors against the quen; and though in the parts of the country 
where his authority was absolute, in spite of a thousand capricious 
changes of fashion among the higher classes, the dress of the peasant 
still exhibits traces of the proscribed costume, yet he was for the time 
delighted with the effect of the reformation which he introduced; 
" he suffered," says Hooker, " no glibs nor the like usages of the 
Irishry to be used among the men, nor the Egyptiacal rolls upon 
women's heads to be worn, whereat, though the ladies and gentlewomen 
were somewhat grieved, yet they yielded, and giving the same over, 
did wear hats after the English manner." 

Soon after the establishment of this presidency court in Munster, 
Sidney was succeeded as deputy by Sir William Fitz-William. The 
favourite project of the age was the plantation of English settlers in 
such lands as by forfeiture became vested in the crown. A settle- 
ment of this kind had been attempted with strong prospects of success, 
at Ardes, in the county of Down. The appearance of prosperity was 
such as for a while to deceive the colonists; but the project was aban- 
doned in consequence of the assassination of the son of Sir Thomas 
Smith, the originator of the plan. A more extensive effort at colo- 
nisation was soon after undertaken by Walter Devereux, lately 
created earl of Essex, on the district of Ulster, called Clan-hu-boy, 
which became vested in the queen by the forfeiture of the O'Neale's. 
Jealousies between the lord-deputy and Essex delayed and finally 
defeated this proposed settlement. The Irish chieftains were mad- 
dened by the fear of projects which seemed to aim not alone at the 
diminution of their power, but at the utter extirpation and very ex- 
tinction of their race; and the country, which Sidney had left in seem- 
ing quiet, again exhibited every where turbulence and disaffection. 
At this eventful moment the earl of Desmond, and his brother Sir 
John of Desmond, who had been sent from England as prisoners of 
state to Dublin, contrived to escape from their imprisonment. After 
being detained for several months in the castle of Dublin, they were 
given to the custody of the mayor. Their custody was not strict, 
and in a hunting party they contrived to distance mayor, aldermen 




and constables, and make their escape into Munster. The mayor 
described them as having broken their parole of honour. They had a 
story of their own: they said, and possibly believed, that it was intended 
to waylay and murder them, that flight was their only security. 

On Desmond's escape, a proclamation was issued, declaring him a 
traitor a reward of 1000 with 40 a-year was offered to any one 
who should bring him in alive, and 500 and 20 a-year pension to 
him who should bring in his head. 

Immediately on his arrival in Munster, a confederacy was entered 
into between him and his principal adherents, who bound themselves 
by oath neither to spare life or fortune in his defence. They signed an 
engagement to this effect on the 18th of July, 1574. Letters too were 
about this time intercepted from the pope, exhorting the Irish to per- 
severe in their opposition to the government of the heretical queen, 
promising supplies of arms and money, with such plenary indulgences 
to the champions of this holy war, as were usually granted to the armies 
of the faithful warring against infidels, and promises of absolution to 
themselves and their posterity to the third generation.* Desmond, how- 
ever, found the means of quieting the suspicions of the government as they 
felt themselves unprepared for active measures against him. He was 
permitted to renew his engagements of submission and allegiance, and 
on Perrot's being recalled from the presidentship of Munster, he was 
appointed one of the council to assist his successor, Sir William Drury. 
Fitz-William was now recalled, and Sidney again bore the sword of 
state with increased powers, and with an assurance of an annual remit- 
tance of twenty thousand pounds in aid of the ordinary revenues of 
Ireland. A plague which raged in Dublin, and the disturbances in 
Ulster, made him proceed to that province before going to the capital. 
His presence restored tranquillity. He continued his circuit through 
the other provinces, and, with a force of but six hundred men, without 
encountering the slightest opposition, suppressed all appearances at 
least of disaffection. In his progress through the south he lodged 
three nights at Dungarvan castle, to which place the earl of Desmond 
came to him and humbly offered him any service he was able to do the 
queen. From Dungarvan, Sidney passed into Sir John of Desmond's 
country, in the county of Cork. From Sir John of Desmond's he 
arrived at Lord Barry's ; and, on the 23d of December, reached Cork, 
where he was received with every demonstration of joy. The earls of 
Desmond, of Thomond, and of Clancare, waited upon him in Cork, 
with the bishops of Cashel, Cork, and Ross ; viscounts Barry and Roche; 
the barons de Courcy, Lixnaw, Dunboyne, Power, Barry- Oge, and 
Lowth; Sir Donald M'Carthy, Reagh of Carbery, and Sir Cormac 
Teige M'Carthy of Muskerry; the latter "the rarest man for obedi- 
ence to the queen, and to her laws, and disposition for civility, that he 
had met among the Irishry." 

He was also attended by Sir Owen O'Sullivan, and the son and heir 

of O'Sullivan More, his father being too old and infirm to attend ; 

by O' Carroll of Ely O'Carroll, and M'Donough, each of whom, he, 

says, might for his lands rank with any baron of England or Ireland.^ 

* Leland Phelan. t Colitis's State Letters. 


. . 



O'Mahon, and O'Driscol, each of whom had lands enough to 
live like a knight in England, attended, and the sons of M'Auliffe 
and O'Callaghan represented their aged fathers. Sir Maurice Fitz- 
Gerald of the Decies, and Sir Theobald Butler of Cahir, were there. 
Some worthies of more doubtful character and aspect made their 
bow at these crowded levees. Five brothers, and three sons of 
two other brothers, all captains of gallowglasses, armed in mail 
and bassenet, holding in their hands weapons like the axes of 
the Tower,* the M'Swineys, whose enmity was dreaded, and whose 
friendship was courted by the greatest men of the province, stood like 
Indian warriors offering the service of their axes to the deputy. In 
the same circle stood Arundels, Rochforts, Barrets,- Flemings, Lom- 
bards, Terrys, eyeing the M'Swineys with well-merited distrust. These 
were men of English descent, whose ancestors had lived like gentle- 
men and knights, but who were ruined by the oppressive wars of the 
greater potentates and the plunders of the M'Swineys. All spoke with 
detestation, real or affected, of their barbarous mode of living. They 
offered fealty to her majesty, surrendered their lands to her. and agreed 
to hold them by English tenure. All these lords, with their ladies, 
attended Sidney during the Christmas at Cork, and " kept very plen- 
tiful and hospitable houses." It was a period of confidence and festi- 
vity. Sessions of gaol delivery were held from the morrow after 
twelfth day to the end of January. The dignity of the law was sus- 
tained by the execution of several notable malefactors, and the attain- 
der of some of the principal persons engaged in the late disturbances. 
Sidney next visited Limerick, where he was received with greater 
magnificence than he had before witnessed in Ireland. Numbers of 
the principal inhabitants of Limerick and the neighbouring counties, 
both those of English descent and the aboriginal Irish, repaired to 
meet him. They complained of the -waste and misery occasioned by 
their great men; they entreated him for English forces to protect 
them, and English sheriffs to execute the laws. .They also sought 
permission to surrender their lands and to hold them of the queen. The 
counties of Kerry and Tipperary, being palatinate counties, he did not 
visit; but in the letter from which we make these extracts, he states, 
in the strongest manner, his conviction that no perfect reformation 
could exist in Munster till the privileges claimed by the earls palatine 
were abolished, and the grants resumed. 

Drury did not wait for the slow process of legislation, or for any 
formal resumption of the grants ; he disregarded the old patents under 
which Desmond claimed his privileges, and determined, as lord-presi- 
dent of Munster, to hold his courts within the privileged territories, 
which had become a sanctuary for every malefactor who sought t- 
escape justice. Desmond resisted, and with warmth pleaded his pala- 
tine rights. When he found resistance useless, he spoke of an appeal 
to the lord-deputy, and still protesting against the usurpation, said, that 
as the lord-president was determined to hold his court in Kerry, it was 
his duty respectfully to submit, and he invited Drury, when his pro- 
gress led him through that part of Kerry, to reside in his castle at 

* Sentlegcr. 


Tralee. Drury was unsuspicious, and he travelled through the coun- 
try with an attendance of but six or seven score men. As he approached 
the castle of Tralee, he was astonished to behold a body of seven or 
eight hundred armed men, who shouted violently as the president's 
little party approached. It was a moment of serious alarm, and the 
president, having consulted with his company, charged the armed party, 
who in the instant retired and dispersed among the woods, without 
returning the charge. The countess of Desmond soon after approached. 
She assured the president that the body of men whom he supposed to 
be enemies had never intended hostilities, that the shouts which ho 
mistook for battle-cries were the national mode of welcome ; that the 
earl had assembled his principal friends and retainers to greet the 
lord-president; and that they were assembled to entertain him with 
the sport of hunting the favourite pastime of .the country. Drury 
believed, or affected to believe this account of the matter, which was 
probably true. He accepted the hospitality of the earl, but pursued 
his determination, and held his courts and sessions through the whole 
of the earl's palatinate. 

Desmond's complaint had the show, perhaps the reality, of right, 
though in favour of Drury it must be said that in the original patent 
creating the palatinate certain pleas were reserved to the crown, and 
only cognizable by the king's judges. Desmond, too, on his late submis- 
sion, v had made an absolute surrender of all his lands to the queen, with 
promises to execute any conveyances she might direct of them. Fierce 
hostility, however, against Drury, was the result of the experiment 
made of invading the earl's territory. 

The negotiations of the discontented in Ireland with the continen- 
tal states, did not cease during this troubled time. Stukely, an adven- 
turer of English birth, a man of profligate habits and desperate for- 
tunes, was actively engaged at the court of Rome, and the writers who 
relate the events of this period tell us that he succeeded in persuading 
Gregory the XIIL, who was then supreme pontiff, that nothing could 
be easier than to obtain the throne of Ireland for an Italian nobleman, 
the nephew or son* of Gregory. The invasion and conquest of Ire- 
land was to be the work of Spain. When this island was won, the 
rest of her dominions might soon be torn from Elizabeth, and the crown 
of England was to be Philip's reward. Eight hundred Italians were 
raised for this service, and placed under Stukely's command. They 
were to be paid by the king of Spain. Gregory, who seems already to 
have regarded Ireland as his own, had the audacity to confer upon 
Stukely the titles of Marquis of Leinster and earl of Wexford and Car- 
low. The impression of Stukely's military talents was such as to 
occasion considerable alarm to the government. All danger, how- 
ever, from that quarter was soon at an end. He had embarked at 
Civita Vecchia, and arrived at Lisbon at the time when Sebastian was 
setting out on the romantic African expedition which had such a dis- 
astrous termination. Sebastian succeeded in persuading him to join 
him in this expedition, promising that on their return he would 
assist in the invasion of Ireland. The consent of the king of Spain 
was easily obtained to this arrangement. Stukely fought gallantly at 
* Hume calls him \ns nephew, Cox, Leland, Plielan, and Sharon Turner, his sou. 


Alcazar, holding in his hand the banner of Portugal ; but was, on the 
day of battle, murdered by the Italian soldiers whom he had involved 
in this unfortunate adventure.* A cloud which has never been dis- 
persed rests upon the fate of Sebastian* 

At the same time that Stukely was engaged in his negotiations with 
Rome, Fitz-Maurice, burning with indignation at the humiliating condi- 
tion to which he had been exposed by Drury, repaired first to Spain, 
and afterwards to the court of France, and urged upon Henry with 
anxiety the invasion of Ireland. After two years of lingering expec- 
tation he was contemptuously dismissed by the king with a promise 
that he would intercede with the queen of England for his pardon. 
He left France and returned to Spain, where his communications were 
better received. Philip sent him to the pope. Saunders, an English 
ecclesiastic, distinguished for his hatred of the reformed doctrines^ and 
Allen, an Irish Jesuit, were able to satisfy the pope of the probable 
success of an Irish insurrection. A banner exhibiting the arms of the 
holy see, was consecrated with many religious ceremonies, and delivered 
to Fitz-Maurice. Proclamations were issued, addressed to the people 
of Ireland, in which Elizabeth was described as "that evil woman who 
has departed from the Lord, and the Lord from her."f An expedi- 
tion was resolved upon at once. About fourscore Spaniards, and some 
English and Irish fugitives, with Allen and Saunders, embarked with 
Fitz-Maurice. Saunders was appointed legate by Gregory. They landed 
in the beginning of July, 1579, at Smerwicke, or St Marywicke, on 
the western coast of Kerry, and built a fort in the west side of the 
bay. "The two doctors," says Hooker, "hallowed the place" after 
the manner of their religion, and assured the invaders that no enemy 
should dare to come upon them, " and yet," he adds, " they were 
beguiled." A ship of war, commanded by a Devonshire man, Thomas 
Courtenay, was at the time lying in the bay of Kinsale. Henry Davels, 
a name that has before occurred and must again be mentioned in this 
narrative, suggested to Courtenay the practicability of taking the three 
vessels in which the Spaniards had arrived, which were at anchor near 
Smerwicke. The wind was favourable. Courtenay doubled the point 
of land and succeeded in taking the vessels, thus cutting off from the 
invaders all power of retreat. Intelligence of their landing was soon 
communicated to John and James of Desmond, the earl's brothers, 
and through them to the whole country. They had looked for the 
return of Fitz-Maurice, and immediately repaired to him with all their 
tenants and retainers. The earl, on hearing that the Spaniards had 
landed, made immediate preparations to resist them, and wrote to the 
earl of Clancare to assemble such forces as he could command, and 
join him in attacking the enemy at Smerwicke. McCarthy came, but 
seeing reason to distrust the earl's sincerity, he ceased to act with him, 
and dismissed his company. 

Sidney had left Ireland in the May of the preceding year, and 
Drury, the late president of Munster, held the office of lord-justice. 
As Sidney entered the vessel which was to convey him to England, he 
was heard to recite, in a lamenting tone, the words with which the 
hundred and fourteenth Psalm commences: " When Israel went out 
* Evans's old ballads, vol. ii. f Pheliin's Remains, Vol. ii. 


of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of a strange language" 
&c. A wiser or a better man than Sidney never held in Ireland the 
perilous and thankless office of viceroy. But our immediate task is the 
biography of Desmond, and other opportunities will occur in the 
course of our work to exhibit the sound policy of the course of govern- 
ment which he sought to establish. " The Romish cocatrice," says 
Hooker, " which had long sat upon her eggs, had now hatched her 
chickens." By this metaphor does he describe the religious insur- 
rections in the south of Ireland. When Drury learned that Fitz-Mau- 
rice had landed with his Spaniards, he ordered Henry Davels to sum- 
mon Desmond and his brothers to prepare themselves to assist him in 
attacking the fort at Smerwicke. Davels, after an interview with the 
Desmonds, inspected the fort, and returned to the earl endeavouring 
to persuade him that it could be easily taken. The earl's heart, it 
would seem, was with the Spaniards, and on one pretence or another 
he declined the service. ' My shot," said the earl, " is more meet to 
shoot at wild fowl, than to adventure such a piece of service. My 
gallowglasses are good men to encounter with gallowglasses, and not 
to answer old soldiers." 

Davels and Carter, the provost martial, who accompanied him on 
this errand, took leave of the earl on their return to the lord-justice. 
They rested for the night near Desmond's castle of Tralee, in a 
victualling-house or wine tavern; the house being strong and defensi- 
ble.* Their servants were dispersed wherever they could find lodg- 
ings in the adjoining town. John of Desmond had secretly followed 
Davels to Tralee, and bribed the person in whose house he lodged 
to leave the gates and doors open. Davels and Carter, suspecting 
nothing, retired to their beds. At midnight they were suddenly 
awakened from sleep by the glare of lights, and the voices of men in 
their chamber, with swords drawn. When Davels recognised John 
of Desmond, his confidence was for a moment restored for he 
and John of Desmond had been for a long time to all appearance at- 
tached friends. During the earlier part of the earl's imprisonment, 
Davels had been associated with Sir John in the temporary government 
of the earl's territories. He had assisted him in the various exigencies 
in which his turbulent spirit for ever involved him had with his 
money released him from prison more than once, and was even the 
means of saving his life when charged with capital crimes. The rela- 
tion between them seemed to be that of father and adopted child, 
" My son," said .Davels, "what is the matter?" The answer of Des- 
mond was, "no more of son, no more of father; make thyself ready, 
for die thou shalt;" and immediately he and his men struck at Davels 
and Carter, and murdered them. The strange motive assigned for this 
fiendish atrocity, by all the writers who record it, is that the Spaniards 
were distrustful of the sincerity of the Desmonds and that John com- 
mitted this dreadful act to prove to them that he was pledged to their 
cause, as far as utter hopelessness of reconciliation with the govern- 
ment, which such an act would render impossible, could pledge him. 

* Hooker. Other writers describe the murder as taking place in the castle of 



F itz-Maurice, when he heard of the manner of Davels' death, was 
shocked. To murder a man naked in his bed, " when he might have 
had advantage of him, either by the highways or otherwise, to his 
commendation," was not consistent with Fitz-Maurice's notions of fair 
dealing with either friend or enemy. The earl, too, was grieved and 
offended, and it was thought that this act would separate him for 
ever from his brother; but the earl was the weakest of men, and seems 
to have been a mere instrument in the hands of others. At this 
time there was with him an Englishman, Applosby, whom the fate of 
Davels taught apprehension for himself. He succeeded in persuading 
the earl to retire to his castle of Askeaton, in the county of Limerick, 
there to wait the lord-justice's arrival, and to join with him in serving 
against the insurgents. The earl followed the advice so far as remov- 
ing to Askeaton, where " he lay close and did nothing." He affected 
to disapprove of Fitz-Maurice's doings, but did nothing to discounte- 
nance his followers from joining his standard. The Spaniards, in 
spite of numbers of the country people repairing to Smerwicke, felt that 
they were not supported as they had been given reason to hope and 
Fitz-Maurice found some difficulty in keeping them together. He de- 
termined to see what his own presence would do in rousing the disaf- 
fected in Ulster and Connaught, and with this view left the fort, telling 
the Spaniards that he would first go to Holy Cross, in Tipperary, to 
perform a vow made by him in Spain. Journeying with three or four 
horsemen and a dozen kernes, he passed through the county of Limerick 
and came into the country of Sir William de Burgo, his kinsman, and 
who had joined actively with him in the insurrection of a few years 
before. Fitz-Maurice's horses were fatigued, and could go no farther ; 
he seized some which he saw ploughing in a field and pressed them 
into his service. The horses were De Burgo's, whose sons, as soon 
as they heard of this depredation, pursued Fitz-Maurice's party. A 
quarrel ensued, and the skirmish became earnest and furious. Two 
of the De Burgos were slain and Fitz-Maurice, shot with a bullet 
through the head, shared their fate. The loyal indignation of the 
lord-justice was wasted on the corse of Fitz-Maurice. The dead body 
was exposed on a gibbet, and the head set over one of the town gates 
of Kilmallock. The queen wrote to Sir William de Burgo a letter 
of thanks and of condolence and created him baron of Castle Connell. 
De Burgo was old and feeble; and the emotion of these events was 
more than he could bear. He fainted while reading the queen's letter, 
and died soon after. 

On the death of Fitz-Maurice, Sir John Desmond assumed the com- 
mand of the Spaniards at Smerwicke and soon afterwards had letters 
from Rome, appointing him general in the place of Fitz-Maurice. Drury, 
on hearing of the murder of Davels, marched to the south. His whole 
disposable force was four hundred foot, and two hundred horse. He 
had with him of Englishmen, Sir Nicholas Malbie ; Wingfield, master 
of the ordnance ; Waterhouse, Fitton, and Masterson. Some of the Irish 
lords, who brought forces of their own, accompanied- him. They were 
the earl of Kildare ; Sir Lucas Dillon, chief baron ; lord Mountgarret, 
the baron of Upper Ossory, and the baron of Dunboyne. They brought 
about two hundred horsemen, besides footmen and kernes. They 


inarched by as rapid journies as they could till they came to Kilmallock, 
where they encamped. Drury wrote to the earl of Desmond and the 
chief persons in the neighbourhood, calling upon them to assist him. 

The earl came to Drury's camp, with a formidable company of both 
horse and foot. Suspicions, however, of his loyalty arose of such a 
kind, that Drury committed him to the custody of the knight marshal. 
He made new protestations and promises, and was released from 

The earl was scarcely at freedom, when news was brought to Drury 
that John of Desmond was encamped with a great company of rebels, 
upon the borders of Slievelogher. For nine weeks he left the royal 
army no rest either night or day, and on one occasion succeeded in 
cutting off two parties of one hundred men each, under the command 
of Captains Herbert and Price; Price and Herbert were both slain. 
Additional forces arrived from England, and Sir John Perrot, the late 
president, landed at Cork, with six ships of war to guard the coast, 
and deprive the rebels of all foreign assistance. The earl of Desmond 
no sooner obtained his liberty, than he separated from Drury, send- 
ing occasional letters, but avoiding to give any assistance. The coun- 
tess of Desmond waited upon Drury, pleading in behalf of her husband, 
and she placed in his hands her only son, as a hostage for the earl's 
fidelity. This campaign was too much for Drury's health; he placed 
the command of the army in the hands of Sir Nicholas Malbie, and 
went by easy stages to Waterford ; Drury felt that he was dying ; his 
last act was an effort to serve the queen by encouraging as far he could 
the officers sent with Perrot to active exertion. At Kilmallock he 
had bestowed the honour of knighthood on Bourchier, Stanley, Carew, 
Moore, and he now almost at the moment of death gave the same honour 
to Pelham, Gorges, Thomas Perrot, son and heir of Sir John Perrot, 
and to Patrick Welsh, mayor of Waterford. 

Malbie's first act, after Drury's retirement to Waterford, was to 
send for the earl of Desmond, who received his letters, and on one 
frivolous pretence or another, refused to leave his castle of Askeaton, 
whither he had again retreated. Malbie, on finding all applications to 
the earl were worse than fruitless, abandoned him to his inevitable 
fate. Malbie had great experience in military affairs, " having served 
under sundry kings and in strange nations." A student a traveller, 
and an observer how contrasted with the feeble and irresolute Des- 
mond, who thought that his shallow artifices were deceiving him ! His 
forces consisted of one hundred and fifty horse and nine hundred foot. 
He sent Bourchier, Dowdal, and Sentleger, to Kilmallock, with three 
hundred foot and fifty horse, to garrison that well fortified and well 
situated town, the importance of possessing which was felt alike by 
both parties ; with the rest of his company he marched to the city of 
Limerick, to recruit his harassed soldiers. He again sent to Desmond, 
but with the same unsatisfactory result. The same shallow duplicity 
still marked all the earl's answers. 

Malbie was encamped in the fields near Limerick, when intelligence 
was brought him that the rebel camp was at Connillo, some eight or 
nine miles off; he marched towards them, and "being come to an 
abbey called Manisternenagh, seven miles from Limerick, there ap- 


peared a great company in a plain field, both of horsemen and footmen, 
in estimation two thousand or thereabouts, marching in battle array, 
and had cast out their wings of shot, and placed every thing very well 
and orderly." Malbie soon made his disposition to give them battle. 
John of Desmond, who was at the head of the insurgent's army, wished 
to avoid an engagement,but the ecclesiastic Allen, encouraged him with 
assurances of miraculous aid and certain victory. Sir John displayed 
the papal banner, placed his men, horse and foot, to the best advan- 
tage. In disposing his men, and making arrangements for the battle, 
he was assisted by the experience of the Spanish officers, who had by 
this time abandoned their fort at Smerwicke, and were employed in for- 
tifying Desmond's castles, and disciplining his army for the field. 

" The governor," we borrow Hooker's language, " setteth onwards 
and giveth the onset upon them with his shot, who valiantly resisted 
the first and second voices, and answered the fight very well, even the 
couching of the pikes, that the matter stood very doubtful. But the 
Englishmen so fiercely and desperately set upon them with the third 
voice, that they were discomfited, and had the overthrow given them, 
and fled. John of Desmond put spurs to his horse, showing a fair 
pair of heels, which was better to him than two pair of hands." Two 
hundred of his men were slain, and among them Allen. 

The earl of Desmond, and the baron of Lixnaw, viewed the engage- 
ment from a wooded eminence, which, in memory of the day, with refe- 
rence to the original meaning of the word Tory, is called Tory Hill. 

The patience of the English government with individuals seems as 
remarkable as their determination to rule the nation according to 
their own notions of policy. For certainly the engagements made by 
the Irish nobles, whether of English or native descent, were seldom 
entered into with good faith. Lixnaw's son had an office in the court 
of Elizabeth, and was now in Ireland on a visit to his father. His assist- 
ance was given to the rebels. We preserve the language of provoca- 
tion into which one of the historians of the period is excited. " He 
was no sooner come home, than away with his English attire, and on 
with his brogs, his shirt, and other Irish rags, being become as very 
a traitor as the veriest knave of them all, and so for the most part 
they are all, as daily experience teacheth, dissemble they never so 
much to the contrary. For like as Jupiter's cat, let her be trans- 
formed to never so fair a lady, and let her be never so well attired, 
and accompanied with the best ladies, let her be never so well esteemed 
and honoured, yet if the mouse come once in her sight, she will be a 
cat and show her kind." 

The earl, when the victory was decided, wrote letters of congratu- 
lation to Malbie, which were coldly answered ; a personal interview 
was requested, which Desmond still evaded. In a few days he learned 
that papers had been found on Allen's person which left no doubt of the 
earl's participation in the treason of his brothers. Detection rendered 
him desperate. He attacked the English camp at Rathkeale, in person, 
on two successive nights, and lost several of his people. Even after 
this, Malbie wrote to him, conjuring him to return to his allegiance. 
He replied, " that he owed no allegiance to the queen, and would no 
longer yield her obedience," and proceeded to fortify his castles of 


Askeaton and Carrigfoile. Malbie garrisoned Rathkeale, and pro- 
ceeded to attack Askeaton, when news was brought of Drury's death, 
which terminated Malbie's deputed authority. 

Sir William Pelham succeeded Drury as lord-justice. The earl of 
Ormonde was appointed governor of Munster. Pelham immediately 
proceeded to the disturbed districts, and summoned Desmond to meet 
nim at Cashel. Desmond did not attend, but sent his countess with 
some vague excuse. A council was called, and it was agreed that 
Ormonde should confer with the earl, and require his distinct answer 
to the following propositions: 

1st, That he should deliver up Doctor Saunders and the Spaniards. 

2d, That he should deliver up either the castle of Askeatou, or of 
Carrigfoile, as a pledge of his good behaviour. 

3dly, That he submit himself and his cause to the judgment of her 
majesty and council in England, or to the lord-justice and council in 

4thly, That he assist and aid the earl of Ormonde in prosecuting the 
war against his brothers and other traitors. 

The interview was unavailing. Desmond's replies were evasive, 
and his only object seemed to be delay. Pelham then published a 
proclamation, declaring Desmond a traitor; lords Gormaustown and 
Delvin refused to sign the proclamation, for which they were afterwards 
severely reprimanded by the government of England.* Within an 
hour after the proclamation was issued, the countess of Desmond came 
to the camp, but the camp was already broken up, and Ormonde's soldiers 
were destroying before them whatever fire and sword could consume. 
The day the earl was proclaimed, he had already set up his standard at 
Ballyhowra, in the county of Cork. This place, which we call by its 
Irish name, is part of the mountain range which Spenser, who came 
over as secretary to lord Grey of Wilton, the next lord-deputy, has 
rendered familiar to the English reader by the name of Mole. Des- 
mond attacked and plundered Youghal, which he kept possession of for 
live days. The Irish annalists, disposed as they are to defend every 
act of his, describe him as not sparing even the churches ; they tell 
of his soldiers " polluting and defiling whatever was most sacred, bring- 
ing every thing to utter confusion and desolation, and making havoc 
as well of sacred vestments and chalices as of any other chattels." 
The Spaniards in Desmond's army were shocked at this wicked exploit, 
perceiving by the furniture and ornaments of the churches that the 
townsmen were all Catholics. They refrained from plunder, and were 
reproved by their Irish. companions in arms; they answered, that they 
ought not to rob better Christians than themselves. " One of the 
Spaniards cut his cloak as St Martin did, in five parts, and distributed 
the same on five children that were stripped of their cloathes, and left 
naked by some of the kernes."f The subsequent calamities that befell 
Desmond and his illustrious house, are referred by the authorities to 
whom we owe these details, to the judgment of heaven against this 

Whatever plunder the town afforded, was carried off to the castles 

* Cox. f Theatre of Catholic and Protestant Religion. Curry's Civil Wars. 



of Strangically and Lisfineen in the county of Waterford, which were 
garrisoned by Spaniards. Desmond himself returned to his old haunts 
in the county of Limerick. Ormonde, in a skirmish at Newcastle in 
that county, lost some of his men under circumstances that increased 
his fury against the earl. The policy of destroying every thing be- 
longinf to the earl or his retainers, was now relentlessly acted on. 
Houses, towns, and villages, were everywhere devastated and de- 
stroyed. The mayor of Youghal, whose treachery or cowardice had 
surrendered that town to Desmond, was taken in Cashel, brought to 
Youghal, and hanged before his own door. On the entrance of the 
queen's army into Youghal, they found it all desolate, no one man, 
woman, or child, within the walls, except one friar. We regret that the 
friar's name is not preserved, for in those dreadful days he ventured upon 
what must have been a dangerous act of humanity. He was at Tralee 
during the dreadful tragedy of Davels' murder, and he brought the 
body of Davels to Waterford, that it might receive the rites of Chris- 
tian burial. 

Desmond had now so openly connected himself with the rebellion, that 
his sending an arrogant letter to the lord-justice, stating that he and 
his followers had entered into the defence of the Catholic faith, with 
authority from the pope, and in concert with the king of Spain, and 
calling on Pelham to join them, can scarcely be regarded as an ag- 
gravation of his treason. The lord-justice and Ormonde, early in the 
year 1580, entered Kerry, burnt the country up to the mountains of 
Sleevelogher, and slew four or five hundred men. Pelham then be- 
sieged Carrigfoile which was garrisoned with nineteen Spaniards and 
fifty Irish, commanded by Julio, an Italian engineer. The castle was 
taken, after considerable resistance, and the whole garrison put to the 
sword or hanged. 

Askeaton castle was, at the same time besieged. The garrison, 
fearing the fate of that at Carrigfoile, contrived to evacuate the castle. 
They abandoned it at night, leaving a train of powder to set it on 
fire. Great part was consumed, but the principal towers remained 

Every one of Desmond's castles were soon taken and garrisoned by 
the queen's forces. His vast estates were one wide scene of devas- 
tation. He himself, with his countess and with Saunders, wandered from 
one mountain fastness to another, in momentary fear of being taken. 
His youngest brother, James of Desmond, whose birth had but three 
and twenty years before been celebrated with unusual rejoicing, and 
at whose baptism lord-deputy Sussex had attended, was seized in the 
act of carrying off a prey of cattle from the lands of Sir Cormac 
M'Carthy. The party who assisted him in this plunder must have 
been considerable, for an hundred and fifty of them are said to have 
been killed on this occasion by the M'Carthys. James was mortally 
wounded, taken prisoner, and executed with every circumstance of 
cruel indignity, in the city of Cork. The misfortunes of the surviving 
parties were aggravated by mutual recrimination, and John of Desmond 
and Saunders left the earl in the hope of being able to join lord Balt- 
inglass, who, with one of the Fitz-Geralds of Kildare, was in arms in 
KUdare. The garrison at Kilmallock intercepted their little party, 



which consisted but of four. Sir John and Saunders succeeded in 
escaping the immediate danger ; but being unable to elude the vigilance 
of the English so far as to make their way to lord Baltinglass's army, 
returned to their haunts in the mountain fastnesses of Aherlow. Of 
the others one was slain, and the fourth, a friar named Hayes, was 
taken, and supplied his captors with evidence of the earl's connexion 
with the treasons of his brothers, so far back as the time of Fit/- 
Maurice's landing with the Spaniards. This was felt of moment, as 
at the very date of the proclamation declaring him a traitor, there was 
but little evidence of any overt act of treason against him. 

Lord Grey of Wilton, the newly-appointed viceroy, had already 
arrived in Dublin with orders to spare no resources of the govern- 
ment in order at once to crush the rebellion in Ireland, and he was 
impatient of an hour's delay. Even before Pelham, the lord-justice, 
could return from the south to deliver to him the sword of state, he 
ordered the officers who waited upon him at his arrival, to proceed to 
dislodge from their haunts in the Wicklow mountains the formidable 
body of insurgents whom we have before mentioned, as under the 
command of lord Baltinglass. With Baltinglass was Phelim Mac- 
Hugh, chief of the sept of the O'Byrnes, and one of the Leinster Fitz- 
Geralds, a kinsman of the earl of Kildare. They were encamped in 
what was then called " the fastness of the glen," the valley of Glen- 
dalough, about twenty miles from Dublin. The valley was one of 
considerable length, lying among lofty and abrupt hills, the soil 
marshy and sinking under the foot ; and where a firmer footing could 
be obtained, perplexed with rocks which could not be passed without 
great difficulty even by men unencumbered with arms; the sides of 
the steep mountains, through which the valley wound, were dark with 
ancient forest and underwood. The officers whom Grey ordered to 
this service, knew that he was leading them to almost inevitable de- 
struction, but did not venture to remonstrate. 

When Fitz- Gerald heard of this determination, he concealed him- 
self and his men among the trees on both sides of the valley, and 
when the English had advanced about half-a-mile, at one of the most 
entangled parts of the valley, they were fired upon with murderous 
execution ; Moore, Audley, Cosbie, and Sir Peter Carew, distinguished 
officers, were slain. George Carew, whom we shall have occasion to 
mention in the after wars of Ireland, was forcibly prevented by his 
uncle, Wingfield, the master of the ordnance, from joining his brother 
in this day's rash service. The party in advance, both officers and 
soldiers, were almost to a man slain; the rest retreated as they 
best could, scrambling over rocks and sinking amid marshes. The 
Irish commenced a pursuit, but retired into their woods on the ap- 
proach of the deputy, who, with his staff and a party of horsemen, was 
stationed on the side of the mountain. He returned to Dublin, dis- 
pirited, and awaited the return of Pelham from the south of Ireland 
to be sworn into office. 

This success of the insurgents in Wicklow, gave the disaffected in 
Munster momentary hope, which was increased by the circumstance of 
vessels from Spain finding an opportunity of baffling the vigilance of 
admiral Winter, and landing at Smerwicke seven hundred Spaniards, 



with arms for five thousand men. They brought cannon, ammunition, 
and money, which they were directed to deliver to the earl of Des- 
mond, his brother John, and Saunders. They added new works to the 
fort which Fitz-Maurice had begun, and called their fortress the Fort 
d':l ore, or Golden Fortress. Ormonde marched against the invaders. 
On hearing of his approach, they fled to the neighbouring woods of 
Glanigalt, a fastness resembling in many points that of Glendalough, 
and equally dangerous to an invading enemy. Ormonde did not think 
of pursuing them to the desolate glens and precipitous hills, whither 
the greater part of them, led by the country people, escaped. While 
Ormonde rested for the night, a party of Spaniards, about three hun- 
dred, returned to their fortress, and re-occupied it. After sallies from 
the fort, and some skirmishes between the Spaniards and Ormonde, he 
retired to Rathkeale, where he was met by the lord-deputy. 

Sir William Winter had now returned. Grey encamped as near 
the fort as he could, and Winter, with his vice-admiral Bingham, be- 
sieged it at sea. After considerable resistance, the fort, which the 
Spaniards described themselves as holding for the Pope and the 
king of Spain, was taken. The garrison sought to obtain terms: 
Grey would grant none. He was fighting, he said, against men who 
had no regular commission either from the king of Spain, or from 
the Pope, and who were but private adventurers giving their assistance 
to traitors. They surrendered at discretion Wingfield disarmed 
them, and an English company then took possession of the fort. The 
commander, and a few of the officers, were made prisoners of war. 
The garrison were put to the sword. This execrable service was 
executed by Raleigh. Grey is said to have shed tears at the determi- 
nation of the court-martial ; and Elizabeth, to have expressed pain and 
displeasure at the event. On the continent, where a false statement 
was circulated of Grey's having made terms with the foreigners that 
they should be permitted to depart in safety, and with all the honours 
of war, the account was received with horror.* 

With the destruction of the Spanish fort, Desmond's last hope ex- 
pired. His extensive territories were one wild solitude and he him- 
self a houseless fugitive, sheltering with a few of the humblest of his 
retainers among the woods. Famine and disease now came to add to 
the inflictions of war. Spenser has given a picture of the scene which, 
though often quoted, we cannot omit: " Out of the corners of the 
woods and glens the natives came creeping forth upon their hands, for 
their legs could not bear them ; they looked like anatomies of death ; 
they spoke like ghosts crying out of their graves; they did eat the 
dead carrions, happy when they could find them, yea, and one another 
soon after ; insomuch as the very carcasses they spared not to scrape 
out of their graves ; and if they found a plot of water-cresses or sham- 
rocks, there they flocked as to a feast for the time, yet not able to 
continue therewithal, that in short space, there was none almost left, 
and a most plentiful and populous country suddenly left void of man 
and beast." f 

A yet more shocking account is given by another faithworthy writer 

* Lelaiid. Caraden. 

t Spenser. State of Ireland. 



We feel it a painful duty to transcribe the loathsome details, that the 
horrors which accompany civil war may be if possible fully felt. We 
slightly abridge the language of our authority: " Famine followed; 
whom the sword did not destroy, the same did consume and eat out. 
They were not only driven to eat horses, dogs, and dead carrion, but 
also the carcasses of dead men. In Cork, a malefactor was executed, 
and left on the gallows. The poor people came secretly, took him 
down and ate him. A ship was wrecked at Smerwicke, and the dead 
bodies which were washed on shore, were devoured greedily. The 
land itself, which before these wars, was populous and well inhabited, 
was now become barren both of man and beast. From one end of 
Munster to another, from Waterford to Smerwicke, a distance of one 
hundred and twenty miles, no man, woman, or child was to be met 
except in the towns, nor any beast but the very wolves, the foxes, and 
other like ravening beasts."* 

Several narrow escapes of Desmond from the parties in pursuit of 
him and his brother, are recorded. The movements of John were be- 
trayed by one of his associates to Zouch, a distinguished English officer, 
who succeeded in coming up with him. He was killed by Zouch's 
party. His head was sent to Dublin his body to Cork, where it was 
exposed hanging by the heels over the north gate of the city. His head 
was placed on one of the turrets of Dublin castle. We wish that we 
could suppress all record of such acts as these. Their effect is to 
create ferocity, demoniacal cruelty, and burning revenge. Saunders 
sunk under the fatigues of a wandering life he was found dead in the 
woods his body mutilated by wolves and birds of prey. 

The earl had now survived all his brothers his son was in the 
hands of Elizabeth his countess, occasionally sharing his abject for- 
tunes, occasionally seeking interviews with such of the court as she 
thought would assist her in obtaining any terms for her unhappy hus- 
band. Allen and Saunders were both dead. The unhappy earl had none 
to advise with, but some hunted priest, or poor gallowglass, or wood- 
kerne. In his misery he wrote to Ormonde a letter, which we trans- 
cribe. " My lord, great is my grief, when I think how heavily her 
majesty is bent to disfavor me; and howbeit, I carry the name of an 
undutiful subject, yet God knoweth that my heart and mind are always 
most loyally inclined to serve my most loving prince, so it may please 
her highness to remove her displeasure from me. As I may not con- 
demn myself of disloyalty to her majesty, so I cannot excuse my faults, 
but must confess I have incurred her majesty's indignation; yet when 
the cause and means which were found to make me commit folly shall 
be known to her highness, I rest in an assured hope that her most 
gracious majesty will think of me as my heart deserveth, as also of 
those who wrong my heart with undutifulness. From my heart I am 
sorry that folly, bad counsels, slights, or any other things, have made 
me forget my duty; and therefore, I am most desirous to get con- 
ference with your lordship, to the end I may open and declare to you, 
how tyraneously I was used; humbly craving that you will appoint 
some time and place, when and where I may attend your honour; and 

* Chronicles of Ireland in continuation of Holinslied. 



then I doubt not to make it appear how dutiful a mind I carry; how 
faithfully I have, at my own charge, served her majesty before I was 
proclaimed; how sorrowful I am for my offences, and how faithfully 
I am affected ever hereafter to serve her majesty: and so I commit 
your lordship to God. (Subscribed) GIRALD DESMOND." 

This letter was disregarded. We approach the termination of 
this tragical story. Desmond continued to hide himself in woods and 
bogs, shifting his quarters often, both for the purpose of concealment, 
and because his whole means of subsistence was derived from the suc- 
cess of his followers in taking preys of cattle. In the earl's better 
days, such exactions were not unknown, and the customs of the coun- 
try clothed them with some pretence of right, when the demand was 
confined to the cattle of his own vassals. In the present exigencies ot 
the earl, the same acts were felt as plunder. In the autumn of 1582, 
the earl had his retreat in the mountains above Gleneefy, and in the 
fastness of Aherlow; in the winter "he kept his christmas" in Kil- 
quieg wood, near Kilmallock. His hiding place was discovered by the 
garrison at Kilmallock, and an effort made to surprise and take him 
was nearly successful. A wide river, swelled at that time by 
the winter rains, between Kilquieg and Kilmallock, must be crossed 
before the earl's cabin could be reached. The party who thought to 
have taken him crossed the river on rafts made of hurdles. At break 
of day they were at the earl's cabin, but the underwood grew so close 
round this miserable place of shelter, and the ground at the side of the 
house was so miry that the military party moved at a few spears' 
paces from the walls ; before they reached the door the earl was alarm- 
ed by the noise of their approach, and ran into the river that flowed 
by the cabin. He was accompanied by the countess, and the soldiers 
searched the place in vain. Dowdal, the captain of the garrison at 
Kilmallock, led the party engaged in the pursuit of Desmond. 

The earl, driven from Kilquieg, returned to the Aherlow mountains. 
Some three score gallowglasses now joined him. Their mode of sus- 
tenance was by such plunder of cattle as we have before mentioned. 
" Like a sort of deer," says one of the old chroniclers of the period, 
" they lay upon their keepings, and so fearful were they, that they 
would not tarry in any one place any long time ; but where they did 
dress their meat, thence would they remove and eat it in another place, 
and from thence into another place to lie. In the night they would 
watch, in the forenoons they would be upon the hills and vallies to 
descry the country, and in the afternoon they would sleep." A detach- 
ment from the garrison at Kilmallock surprised them in the night, when 
some were asleep, and some feeding upon a horse which they had 
just stolen, for they were without other food. Most of them were 
slain. When this party of gallowglasses was destroyed, the rest of 
the Irish rebels were so dismayed that all disturbances ceased in 

The earl, thus hunted from the mountains of Limerick and Tipper- 
ary, repaired to Kerry, and was discovered by lord Roche's men, and 
Dowdal, his indefatigable pursuer, to be lurking in the woods near 
Dingle. Goron M'Swiney, one of the captains of gallowglasses, who, 


a i'ew years before, had made his appearance at Cork to welcome 
Sidney in his viceregal progress, was, with his brother Moyle Mur- 
rough M'Swiney, still with Desmond, and by plunders of cattle supported 
their little company. Goron was slain in one of those marauding 
expeditions by some of the country people, whose cattle he was driv- 
ing away. No garrison was yet placed at Dingle, and the earl continued 
to take, as he best could, cattle in the neighbourhood, chiefly from such 
as had forsaken his cause, and placed themselves under the protec- 
tion of the English. 

Desmond, on one of these occasions, sent two horsemen and one of 
his wood-kernes to take a prey of cattle from the neighbourhood of 
Castlemagne, on the strand of Tralee. Among the cattle taken were 
those of a poor woman, of the name of Moriarty. The cattle were her 
only property, and she and her brother followed the track of the plun- 
derers. At Castlemagne the constable of the castle gave them the 
assistance of some ammunition and a few wood-kernes. The party 
was in all three and twenty one of whom, Kelly, an Irishman by birth, 
but who had in these wars served under the English, they made their 
captain. Moriarty, who was well acquainted with the country, under- 
took to be their guide. They followed the track of the kine till they 
came to the side of a mountain, and a winding path led them to 
the deep and wooded valley of Glanikilty. It was now night, and 
they thought to have rested for the night in the shelter of the wood. 
The glimmering of a fire among the trees at a little distance attracted 
their notice, and one of them cautiously approached and saw through 
the windows of a ruinous old house five or six persons sitting by a 
wood fire. The party immediately determined on ascertaining whether 
these were the men in pursuit of whom they came. They retired for a 
moment to consult how their object might best be effected. Before 
their return all had departed but one man of venerable appearance, who 
lay stretched before the fire. Kelly struck the old man with his sword, 
and almost cut off" one of his arms ; he struck at him again, and gave 
him a severe wound upon one side of the head. The old man cried 
out " spare me, I am the earl of Desmond." The appeal was one 
which he knew was not under any circumstances likely to be made in 
vain. If no feeling of compassion for fallen greatness could be ex- 
pected to stay Kelly's hand, still his avarice or ambition might be 
interested, for though large rewards were offered for Desmond's head, 
yet the great object of the government was, as all their proclamations 
expressed, to take him alive. The appeal was unfortunately too 
late. He was too severely wounded to be easily removed, and Kelly 
was perhaps afraid of the arrival of some of his retainers. Kelly bade 
him prepare himself to die, and smote off his head. It was brought 
to Ormonde sent by him to the queen and impaled on London 
bridge. His body was concealed by his followers ; and after several 
weeks interred in the little chapel of Killanamanagh, not far from 
Castle Island. 

For many a long year after the earl's death there was a popular 
belief that the place where he died was still red with his blood.* 
The persons instrumental in his death were the object of detestation 
to the Irish, and in every unfortunate incident that from time to time 

* O'Sullivan, 


occurred in their families, there was a disposition to read judgments 
inflicted upon them by heaven for the destruction of this champion of 
the faith. Kelly had his reward. For some thirty years he continued 
to receive a pension from the government ; but the detestation of his 
own countrymen rendered it necessary for him to live in London, and 
the Abb6 M'Geogeghan, with evident delight, tells of his being at last 
hanged for highway robbery. 

Desmond was attainted, and his vast estates vested in the crown by 
act of parliament. That act was obtained with difficulty. A feoff- 
ment of his lands, made by him several years before, to one of the 
Munster Geraldines, was produced for the purpose of defeating the 
forfeiture. As proof, however, was given of this Fitz-Gerald being 
himself implicated with the earl in treason before the date of the con- 
veyance, the houses of parliament, in the excitement of the moment, 
disregarded the instrument, and no longer hesitated to pass the acts of 
attainder and forfeiture. The lands thus forfeited included almost 
the entire of four counties, and contained 574,628 acres. 


THE fifteenth Earl of Desmond having divorced his first wife Joan, 
daughter of Lord Fermoy, on the plea of consanguinity, and married a 
second ; the title and inheritance were transferred by settlement from 
Thomas, his son by the first wife, to his son by the second, Gerald, the 
unfortunate earl, whose history has already been given at length in this 
volume. In the mean time, the son thus set aside, grew up and obtained 
possession of a sufficient inheritance in the county of Cork, where he 
built the castle of Conoha, in which he spent his life in quiet ; pru- 
dently forbearing to entangle himself in the sea of disturbance, in which 
so many of his race had been wrecked. He married a daughter of lord 
Poer, by whom he had three sons and a daughter. 

On the attainder of his unfortunate uncle, the sixteenth earl, 
.Tames, the eldest of these, was induced to plunge into the troubles which 
were beginning to rise to an unprecedented height, and to menace 
destruction to the English possessions in Ireland. It was a subject of 
deep irritation to see an inheritance to which the obstruction to his 
own claim was now removed, in the hands of the English undertakers, 
and his last hope of obtaining redress, was reduced to the chances of 
rebellion. These chances seemed now to multiply in appearance; 
rebellion was beginning to assume a more concentrated form ; the dis- 
cipline of the Irish was increasing under the ceaseless activity of 
Hugh O'Donell, the cautious policy of Tyrone, which matured rebellion 
on a broad basis ; and the enmity of Spain against the queen, which 
promised effectual aid. Such were the motives which led this claim- 
ant of the earldom to join Tyrone, of whose rebellion, his will be 
found to form the regular preliminary; so that we are led to pass in 
the natural order of events, from one to the other. 

In 1598, he was raised by Tyrone's authority to the title of earl of 
Desmond. The earl of Tyrone, whose history virtually comprehends 
that of all the other insurgent chiefs of his time, had first sent Owny 


M'Rory, with captain Tyrrel, and a considerable body of men, into 
Munster, for the purpose of awakening and giving a strong impulse to 
rebellion in that quarter. And, according to the account of the earl 
of Totness, who conducted this war to its conclusion, he shortly fol- 
lowed himself. Those whom he found in rebellion he confirmed, and 
from those who were doubtful he took pledges. But of all those 
whose influence he courted, as the most efficient in the south, the heir 
of the estates and principles of the princely and ever rebellious house 
of Desmond stood foremost in his estimation. From the white knight 
he took pledges ; Donald M'Carthy he deposed, and in his place raised 
Florence M'Carthy to the title and authority of M'Carthy More. 
On good subjects he inflicted the punishment of fire and sword: but 
the Sugan earl was his chief object and hope in Munster. 

The Sugan earl began his career by a descent on the estates of the 
brave and loyal lord Barry, with a small tumultuary force of 100 
kerne, and drove away 300 cows and 10 horses. 

The lord-president early adopted a system of action, which in the 
Munster rebellion he found in a considerable degree available. The 
operation of fear and self-interest had a material influence with its 
leaders, who were not like those of the north, strengthened in the 
secure and unshaken hold of their vast possessions: Desmond and 
M'Carthy were scarcely seated in their authority; and DermondO' Conor 
was a soldier of fortune, whose reputation as a soldier, along with 
his marriage with a daughter of the old earl of Desmond, were in 
reality his chief claims to authority. These were, nevertheless, the 
heads of the rebellion, and if allowed, likely to gather a degree of 
power, which might, considering the state of Ulster, become diffi- 
cult to cope with. The president therefore tried the effect of separ- 
ate treaties, and had the address to divide these shallow but danger- 
ous spirits. Florence M'Carthy was awed into a temporary neutrality, 
and O'Conor was easily detached from his rebel kinsman. 

Dermond O'Conor had been appointed by Tyrone to the command 
of his men, whom he left in Munster ; and being retained for pay, 
was therefore considered by the president as a fit person for his pur- 
pose. For this and other considerations, he assailed O'Conor through 
his wife, who, being a sister to the son of the late earl, at the time 
confined in the Tower, would be the more likely to take a strong part 
against the pretender. It was through this lady settled with O'Conor, 
that he should take Desmond prisoner, and deliver his person up to 
the president, for which service he should receive 1000, and be ap- 
pointed to a company in the queen's service. Dermond also stipulated 
for hostages, which were granted. The lord-president selected four 
persons who were likely to be safe in his hands, and to prevent suspi- 
cion they were met taken as prisoners by a party of Dermond's men 
sent to meet them for the purpose. 

In the mean time, each party pursued its preparation. The presi- 
dent contrived to spread a premature alarm, which brought together 
the rebel forces in the forest of Kilmore, between Moyallo and Kil- 
mallock, where they waited for ten days in daily expectation of the 
enemy : after which, having consumed their provisions and wearied con- 
jecture, they were forced to separate. By this contrivance the prcsi- 


dent was enabled to scatter the rebel force, and at the same time 
ascertain its extent. The following letter, from Desmond to Florence 
M'Carthy, was written 17th May, and may serve to give a view of his 
condition at the time, as well as of the motives which he thought most 
likely to be influentially put forward. 

Letter to Florence McCarthy. 

" After my very heartie commendations, having received inteligence 
of your happie escape out of Corke, it was very joyfull to mee and many 
other your cosens and adherents heere; the fruite of your conference 
with the president, and the rest, I hope shall purchase ripe experience, 
and harvest of further knowledge, to cut off the cruell yoke of bloody 
enemies, who daily studie to worke our perpetuall destruction and 
exile: I am given to understand, that they pretend a journey towards 
the countie of Limerick, I am gathering the best force, and rising out 
of these parts to resist their wicked desires: Redmond Burke is 
bordering on the confines of Ormonde, expecting to heare from me, if 
occasion of important service should require, I have the other day 
received his letters signifying his constant service, to be ready when- 
soever I shall send to him, what news you have with your best advice 
in all causes tending to our generall service, I expect to heare, and 
if the president doe rise out (as it is thought), I pray you goode coseu 
slacke not time, with your best force and provision of victuals to pro- 
secute him freshly in the reare-ward, as you respect me, the exaltation 
of the Catholike faith, and the ease of our countrey : I looke no excuse 
at your hands, which I pray to lay apart, wherein you shall further 
the service, and bind me with all my forces to second you at your 
need. I have retained Dermond O'Conor in Kerry, two hundred 
souldiers this quarter, besides the Clanshikies and other borroghs with 
the rising out of my country, so as I think, I shall make up sixteen 
or seventeene hundred strong, well appointed, together with the force 
of Redmond Burke. Thus for the lacke of farther novelties, I com- 
mit you to the blessed guiding of God. From Crome the seventeenth 
of May, 1600. 

" I am credibly informed, that five Spanish ships are landed in the 
north, with treasure, munition, and great ordinance, with a competent 
number of three thousand soldiers, pioneers, and religious persons, I 
expect every day advertisement in writing, and the coming up of 
captain Ferrell, with the munition sent me by O'Neyle. I appointed 
your cosen Maurice Oge, Fitz-Maurice Gerald, to have the charge of 
Keirrycorrie, I pray you afford him your lawfull favour. 

" Your most assured cosen, 


Previous to Dermond O' Conor's attempt on the Sugan earl, 
another plan of the same nature was tried to be executed against his 
brother, John of Desmond. A person of the name of Nugent, who 
had been a servant to Sir John Norris, had on some real or imagin- 
ary grievance joined the rebel party, and, being a person of great 
valour, and activity, and resolution, became quickly very formidable 
in Muuster. About the time in which we are now engaged, he saw 


reason to return to the English, and came to the commissioners St 
Leger and Power, who sent him to the president. The president in- 
formed him, that after his great crimes, he could only expect to be 
taken into favour by the performance of some good service, in consi- 
deration of which he might expect pardon and recompense. Nugent 
offered to " ruine within a short time," either the pretended earl or 
John his brother. The president, relying on the plot already prepared 
for the earl, accepted his offer for the other. To prevent suspicion, 
he was brought before the council and reprimanded with great severity, 
his petition for mercy rejected, and himself only dismissed on the faith 
of the queen's word. 

John Fitz- Thomas, as he is commonly named, was keeping possession 
of an island in Lough Gur, on which there was a strong castle, well 
garrisoned, and from its position till then impregnable. This place 
the president considered it to be of the first importance to reduce, as it 
rendered the way unsafe between Kilmallock and Limerick. Hither 
on the 25th May, 1600, the president marched from Brough, and 
made all necessary preparation for the siege. But the cost and delay 
of this difficult undertaking were saved ; the person to whom John 
Fitz-Thomas gave the charge of the castle, delivered it up for the 
sum of 60. On receiving possession of this castle, the president 
marched on, and John Fitz-Thomas came from the island towards the 
" fastnesses of Arlough," where most of his men were. Nugent fol- 
lowed at some small distance, accompanied by a person named Cop- 
pinger, whose aid he had, as he thought, secured. Approaching 
gradually to his intended victim, he came within pistol shot. He then 
drew out a pistol charged with two bullets, and was raising it to take 
aim, when unexpectedly the pistol was wrested from his grasp by his 
companion, who at the same instant shouted "treason." Nugent turned 
to escape, but in turning too sharply his horse fell, and he was taken 
and hanged next day. 

The effect of this incident was to put John of Desmond in continual 
fear, and as Nugent before his death mentioned, that it had been his 
intention to have immediately repaired to the earl, and under pretence 
of giving him the account, to have also killed him: the same fear 
was communicated to the earl, who afterwards acknowledged to the 
president, that he and his brother never durst lodge together in one 
place, or even serve at the head of their troops, for fear of being shot 
by some of their own men. 

The execution of Dermond O'Conor's stratagem was now to be 
furthered by a movement of the president. As the capture of the 
Sugan earl was rendered both difficult and dangerous by the presence 
of his army, it was thought advisable to induce him to dismiss it by 
the division and separate cantonment of the English, who were for the 
purpose ordered to several garrisons in possession of the English. It 
fell out accordingly, when the president had, to the great surprise and 
dissatisfaction of his officers, thus distributed his troops, the Irish 
were allowed to scatter away to their homes. Shortly after, all being- 
prepared, O' Conor sent a messenger to the Sugan earl, desiring a con- 
ference on the 18th June, to arrange some operations for the conduct 
of the war. The earl accordingly came ; his suspicion had been 



slightly roused by some secret intelligence, which he did not, however, 
credit; he came nevertheless attended by 200 foot: O'Conor brought 
with him 150. A quarrel seemingly accidental, was easily excited, 
and under the pretence of interference quickly spread until the tumult 
became confused enough to afford a pretext for any construction: 
O'Conor easily found an excuse to be angry, and to affect the suspi- 
cion of some treasonable intention. Unsuspicious of design and only 
desirous to appease him, the Sugan earl offered to dismiss his kernes. 
The offer was insidiously accepted, and they were at once removed to 
some distance from the place of parley. This having been adjusted, 
the bonnoghs or men of O'Conor drew round the place where they 
stood, and O'Conor laid hold of the Sugan earl, and told him he was 
his prisoner. The earl expressed surprise, and asked for whom and 
what cause. " For O'Neale," answered O'Conor, " and I purpose to 
detain you till his pleasure shall be known, as you have conspired 
with the English, and promised the president, to deliver rne alive 
or dead into his hands ;" in confirmation of which he drew forth and 
read out a letter which he pretended to have intercepted, but which 
was really contrived for the purpose. This letter has been preserved 
by the president himself in the account which he left of the transaction. 

Pretended letter from the Lord President to James Fitz-Thomas. 

" SIR, Your last letters I have received, and am exceeding glad to 
see your constant resolution of returne to subjection, and to leave the 
rebellious courses wherein you have long persevered, you may rest 
assured that promises shall be kept ; and you shall no sooner bring 
Dermond O'Conor to me, alive or dead, and banish his bownoghs out 
of the countrie, but that you shall have your demand satisfied, which 
I thanke God, I am both able and willing to performe; beleeve me 
you have no better way to recover your desperate estate, then by this 
good service, which you have proffered, and therefore I cannot but 
commend your judgement in choosing the same to redeeme your former 
faults: and I doe the rather believe the performance of it, by your 
late action touching Loghquire, wherein your brother and yourselfe 
have well merited; and as I promised, you shall finde mee so just, as 
no creature living shall ever know, that either of you did assent to 
the surrender of it; all your letters I have received, as also the joy nt 
letter, from your brother and yourselfe; I pray loose no time; for 
delayes in great actions are subject to many dangers. Now that the 
Queenes armie is in the field, you may worke your determination with 
most securitie, being ready to releive you upon a dayes warning: so 
praying God to assist you in this meritorious enterprize I doe leave 
you to his protection this twentie ninethof May, 1600." 

This specious imposture reconciled the minds of the persons present. 
But to ensure their satisfaction, O'Conor gave three other gentlemen 
whom he took at the same time to his chief captains to keep them for 
their ransoms. The Sugan earl was then, with the other prisoners, 
mounted on some lean hacks, and conveyed through Coumlogh to castle 
Lyshin, where O'Conor's wife and family with the English pledges 
were. From thence he went and took the castle of Ballianinan, 


belonging to Rory Macshihy, father to two of his prisoners; and having 
done so, he sent for his wife, family, and the English pledges, leavin" 1 
at castle Lyshin sixteen trusty persons to guard the earl and his com- 
panions. O' Conor's fear of a rescue caused him to divide his prisoners 
and pledges thus. He then sent John Power, one of the English 
pledges, to apprize the president of his success, and to beg of him to 
draw towards Kilmallock with such force as he could muster, where 
his wife should meet him to receive the thousand pounds and to 
deliver the prisoner. 

The president had about one thousand foot, and two troops of horse, 
having sent the rest of his army under captain Flower, to the earl of 
Thomond, on whose lands O'Donell had made a sudden descent. 
With this force he drew toward Kilmallock, in the hope of receiving 
there a prisoner of such importance. There however, he was delayed 
nearly six days, without any account from the lady Margaret, who was 
detained by the danger of the way, but at last brought an account that 
castle Lyshin was hesieged by the people of Connaught. The president 
ordered a march to raise the siege, but had not gone a mile when a 
messenger brought word of the escape of the earl. 

Dermond O'Conor soon found himself compelled to enter upon terms 
with his country, who ever after held him in distrust. A letter from 
the rehel chiefs of Munster to O'Donell, inviting him to their assistance 
in their attempts to rescue the Sugan earl, was intercepted and brought 
to the president. He, on his part, having received Dermond's letter, 
that he was besieged in Ballyaninan, marched that way by Conniloc, 
and the tcrwn of Killingery, to relieve him. But when he arrived 
within three miles of Ballyaninan, the rebels being unwilling that a 
person so dangerous as Dermond should be leagued with the English, 
resolved to treat with him. Dermond, perhaps unaware that relief 
was so near, and also uncertain as to his reception from the president, 
consented, and surrendered the castle and himself on terms more 
favourable than he had reason to expect. 

The lord president now directed his march to the Glynne castle, 
belonging to O'Conor Kerry, in the county of Limerick. On his way 
he took Crome castle, at the entrance of Conniloe ; and on the 30th 
June, came to Askeaton, where he continued a few days in expectation 
of supplies. On the 4th of July, he continued his march west from 
Askeaton, while during the entire day, the enemy to the number of 
3000, continued marching in sight. It seemed to the president, that 
they were all the time on the watch for some occasion of advantage 
for an attack. There was, however, division in their camp ; they were 
composed of two classes, the provincials and the hired troops, who 
entertained a mutual jealousy of each other. The bonnoghs or mer- 
cenaries from Connaught began to perceive that they were likely to be 
disappointed in their sanguine expectations of plunder, and the situa- 
tion of the earl was such as to make their hire itself precarious. This 
was made apparent by several letters from some of the leaders, who 
desired safe conducts from the president to retire with their people. 

A letter written at this time, from the Sugan earl, to Florence 
M'Carthy, explains his position and gives some additional interest to 
these movements. 


Letter from James Fitz-Thomas to Florence Macarthy : 


" I was driven through the treacherous dealings of Der- 
mond O'Connor, to let the president and the English armie pass into 
Glenne, without any resistance; and yet they are but thirteene hundred 
foote, and one hundred fiftie horse; Dermond O'Connor did undertake 
that the Connaght men should not medle with them, nor take our 
parts, being the only encouragement of the English, to venter this 
enterprise : but now God be praysed, I am joining my forces with them, 
and doe pray you to assist mee with your forces, for now is the time 
to shew ourselves upon the enemy, for they are but very few in num- 
ber, and destitute of all reliefe, either by sea or land : if your lordship 
bee not well at ease yourselfe, let your brother Dermond, and the 
chiefe gentlemen of your forces come without any delay; assuring 
your lordship, that I will, and am ready, to shew you the like against 
your need: beseeching your lordship once againe, not to faile, as you 
tender the overthrow of our action; even so committing your lordship 
to the tuition of God Almighty I end. Portrinad the fifth of July 

" Your honours most assured friend and cosen, 


On the 5th of July the lord president sat down before the castle of 
Glynn, the army of the Sugan eari and his allies looking on from a 
hill, in reliance on the great strength of the castle. By engaging 
the besieged in a parley, the president contrived to plant his two cannon 
within battering range without any resistance. The attack seems to 
have been delayed for one day more by different parleys and negotia- 
tions both with the besieged and with the chiefs of the rebel host. 
Of these latter, the Knight of the Valley sought and obtained a safe 
conduct to confer with the earl of Thomond; through this lord, he 
conveyed his demand of an audience from the lord president, who 
refused to see him, unless on his absolute submission. This condition 
he rejected, and was commanded to depart; "he saw," writes the 
president, " the cannon already planted, and his son, then a child, in 
the president's hands ready to be executed, being by himself formerly 
put in pledge for his loyaltie." The sight for a moment shook the reso- 
lution of the knight, and the conference was renewed, though in vain ; 
ambition, resentment, or partizanship, were stronger than the parental 
tie, and frustrated every attempt to bring him to yield, and in the 
evening of the same day, he was dismissed. The constable of the castle 
came to the same earl under a safe conduct, and represented the danger 
of the attack ; as he assured him the earl of Desmond would attack 
the English and drive them into the Shannon. 

The earl of Thomond laughed at the threat, and in return advised 
the surrender of the castle, assuring him that the lives of the gar- 
rison should be spared; this, however, he would not hear of, and a 
little after, as he was departing, he received a message from the lord 
president, " that since he refused the earl of Thomond's favourable 


offer, he was in hopes before two days were spent, to have his head 
set upon a stake."* 

On the following day, the president ordered his battery to be opened, 
but the cannon on which their dependance was placed, was found to bs 
so clogged at the touch-hole, that it could not be freed. The lord- 
president, by a curious expedient, which he records for the instruction 
of posterity, contrived to remedy this obstruction. He ordered the gua 
to be raised on its carriage, as nearly as possible into a vertical position ; 
then " he willed the gunner to give her a full charge of powder, and 
roule a shot after it, whereby the touch-hole was presently cleared, 
to the great rejoicings of the armie."f The president then ordered 
the knight of the valley's child to be placed on one of the gabions, and 
sent word to the castle, that " they should have a fair mark to bestow 
their small shot upon." The constable, in terms not sufficiently 
decorous to be repeated, answered that the knight of the valley might 
have more sons, and that they should not spare their fire on account 
of the child. On this the president ordered the child to be removed 
and the cannon to be discharged against the walls. A fire com- 
menced on both sides, and before long a breach was made into a cellar 
under the great hall of the castle. 

Into this breach a party, led by captain Flower, entered, and forced 
their way into the hall, driviug the garrison before them into a neigh- 
bouring tower which opened from it. Here four of the English 
were slain by shots from a spike-hole. Captain Flower then led his 
men up the narrow spiral stairs, which led to two turrets, on the top 
of the castle ; these they gained with the loss of an inferior officer, and 
planted the English ensigns upon them. 

By the time the last-mentioned service was effected, it had grown 
quite dark, and as it was impossible to make any further progress, 
captain Slingsby was ordered to maintain the position already won till 
morning. During the night, there was some firing on both sides 
within the castle, each party being kept in apprehension of the other. 
The constable, seeing that he was unlikely to save himself by any 
other means, thought to escape during the darkness under cover of a 
sally. The English guard was too alert; his party was repulsed and 
himself slain. In the morning, it was found that the Irish had retired 
into the tower of the castle. The stone stairs, which were the only 
ascent, were so narrow that one only could mount at a time : this 
difficult ascent was guarded by a strong wooden door, to which the 
assailants set fire. By this means the narrow way became so filled 
with smoke, that a considerable time elapsed before any further step 
could be taken; when the smoke was cleared away, several English 
officers, followed by their men, ascended in single file; they met no 
resistance ; the Irish had made their way out on the castle wall. An 
offer to surrender, on condition of their lives being spared, met with 
no answer, and they then resolved to sell them dearly. The English, 
led by captains Flower and Slingsby, rushed out through the door 
which led to the battlements, and a rough and desperate but short 
struggle took place in the gutters, between the battlements and the 

* Hiber. Pac. t IWd. Pacata. 


roof of the castle: here many fell on both sides mercy was unthought 
of, and the narrow gutters ran with blood ; eleven English soldiers were 
killed and 2 1 wounded. Of the Irish, fell 80 in all ; some were slain on 
the battlements; some who hoped to escape by leaping over into the 
water below, were killed by the English who surrounded the castle.* 

The earl of Desmond had not resolution to offer any interruption 
to the taking of this castle, the importance of which was very con- 
siderable. It had served the Irish as a secure factory, from whence, 
by means of a Limerick merchant, all their wants had been supplied. 

The Sugan earl in the meantime seemed to be content with the 
show of war. With a force in general nearly triple that of the English, 
he was content to hang at a safe distance on their march and observe 
their movements, or seize occasion to show hostility by some small 
depredations or assaults on straggling parties. The president pursued 
his operations, very much as if there was no hostile force in the field. 

The county of Kerry had until recently been untouched by these 
military operations, and abounded with men and provisions. In the 
heart of this district lay the strong castle of Lisaghan, an object of 
the utmost importance, and presenting no small obstacles to any hope 
of successful attack. The enterprise was however undertaken by 
Maurice Stack, a gentleman in attendance upon the lord president, 
and highly reputed for his conduct and valour. He was probably 
favoured by the tranquil and isolated position of the place, for he 
contrived to take the castle by surprise. The loss was felt by the 
rebel chiefs to be a serious blow, and all means for its recovery were 
put in motion ; force and fraud were tried in turn and failed. The 
siege was repelled, and the rebel army compelled to retire with some 
disgrace from before the walls. A little after, while the brave Stack 
was away, and the command entrusted to Walter Talbot, Florence 
M'Carthy, whose conduct seems to have been curiously temporizing, 
and ordered very much with a view to avoid committing himself, came 
to Talbot, and endeavoured to cajole him into a surrender. Such 
efforts were little likely to succeed ; but when reported to the lord 
president, he thought it prudent to visit him, and accordingly took 
with him 1000 foot, and 75 horse, and in five days came to Kilrush; 
when by the aid of the earl of Thomond, he had his troops ferried 
across the river. 

In the meantime these movements were not unobserved. A letter 
was written by the Sugan earl to Florence M'Carthy, which was, we 
presume, intercepted by the lord president, on whose authority it is 

Letter from James Fitz-Thomas to Florence McCarthy. 


" Yesterday I came over the mountaine, and brought with 
inee the Bonnaghs of Conelloe, the residue and force of the countery 
I have left to keepe their Crets. I understand since my comming, that 
Sir Charles Wilmott, with six hundred foot, and fiftie horse, are come 

' Pacata Ibid. 


to Clanmorris, and this night pretend to be at Tralee. I have sent to 
the knight, and all the countery presently to meet mee to-morrow, to 
resist their determination; and for your better furtherance and accom- 
plishment of our action, I am to entreat your lordship, as you regard 
your own quiet, and exaltation of the service, to make what haste you 
may, and speedily to yeeld us your helping assistance, for which, will 
rest thankfull and most readie to answere your lordship at your need; 
and thus referring the consideration hereof to your lordship, I commit 
you to God. Primo Augusti, 1600. 

" Your lordship's very loving cousen, 


Thus was the wave of destruction rolled into this hitherto unmo- 
lested district. On reaching Carrigofoyle, the president obtained in- 
formation that the Irish had come to a determination to destroy their 
castles in Kerry; on which he sent Sir Charles Wilmot to prevent 
them. Sir Charles made a rapid march and came by surprise on 
several castles Lixnaw, which had been undermined by its lord, who 
afterwards is said to have died of grief, for this work of his own folly : 
Tralee the house of Sir Edward Denny, which 150 soldiers of the 
Sugan earl were in the very act of destroying ; while these were yet 
busy in the completion of this exploit, the noise they made in the 
vaults which they endeavoured to undermine, prevented them from 
hearing the approach of Sir Charles and his troop of fifty horse, who 
killed 32 of them, and seized the arms of a hundred men. 

We have already mentioned the very peculiar position which Florence 
M'Carthy was all this time endeavouring to maintain; in which it 
seems obviously his object was to keep fair with either party, and finally 
to attach himself to the stronger. The league which was at the time in 
the course of progress against the English, was such as to raise strong 
hopes of their entire subversion ; when the concentrated forces of the 
northern and southern chiefs, strengthened by the men, money, and 
arms of Spain, should be brought to bear upon them. But the vast 
superiority of the English force, in point of efficiency in the field, was 
still such as to cast a strong doubt on the success of any numerical 
superiority which could be brought against them. The best indication 
for the Irish, was the caution they had learned; they now evinced a 
strong sense that their only safe tactics consisted in vigilant observa- 
tion for the moment of advantage. Hence it may be observed by the 
reader, that such was the conduct of Desmond's army; with all his 
numerical superiority, he was contented with such a course that while 
the utmost activity was maintained on either side, the English appear, 
by all statements, to have moved in a perfectly unobstructed course 
to the execution of their objects. Such was the state of things at a 
juncture, which actually constitutes the turning point of the fortunes of 
the pale. And which may without great rashness be taken as the cause, 
which suggested so much doubt, and caused such continual wavering 
among the native chiefs. It was a question, whether they were to em- 
brace safety or irreversible ruin, and the grounds of decision pre- 
sented as yet no very decisive aspect, to the subtile yet circumscribed 
observation of these barbarous leaders. 


Of these, the most curious instance of conduct, rendered perplexed and 
vacillating from indecision of character, together with embarrassment 
of position, was that of Florence M'Carthy. This chief, sincere to 
neither party, and keeping on doubtful terms with both, presents us with 
that species of general illustration which is sometimes to be found in an 
extreme case: steady only in availing himself of all circumstances, 
which could for the moment render him important to either party 
or gain an object, or divert a suspicion. Still, though an anxiety for 
his own safety was uppermost in his wavering counsels, he undoubtedly 
preferred the rebel cause. It was at the period of his arrival at Kerry, 
that the lord-president, hearing that this chief was near, and having 
strong reasons to suspect him, sent to desire his presence at Carrigo- 
foyle. M'Carthy sent excuses joined with oaths of fidelity. Another 
message was dispatched with a safe-conduct, but all was of no avail. 
This confirmed the suspicions of Carew, who a little before had re- 
ceived information, that Florence M'Carthy was engaged in the 
negotiation of a marriage between Desmond and the sister of Cor- 
mac M'Carthy of Muskerry. As this alliance was if possible to be 
prevented, the lord-president resolved to exert himself for the pur- 
pose. With this in view, he committed the military operations in 
Cork to Sir Charles Wilmot, and repaired to Kerry to counteract 
the subtile underplotting of M'Carthy, of whom he was accustomed to 
say, that he saw him, " like a dark cloud over his head, threatening a 
storm to hinder and disturb his proceedings."* The apprehended 
marriage was prevented by a negotiation with M'Carthy of Muskerry, 
who by dint of threats and promises, was induced to undertake for 
his sister's appearance on the summons of the lord president or the 

While this point was in course of attainment, many incidents of less 
moment marked the slow progress of the war in Munster. A detach- 
ment, commanded by captain Harvey, was passing through a village 
belonging to the white knight. One of the houses was unthinkingly 
set fire to by a few of his men, who mistook their position, and by a 
very pardonable error thought themselves in an enemy's country- The 
outrage was instantly arrested in its commencement; but a party of 160 
foot and 18 horse was drawn together by John Fitz-Gibbon, the 
knight's younger son. Captain Harvey explained the error of his 
men, and promised satisfaction. But the inexperienced youth, relying 
on the numerical superiority of his force, conceived the unlucky notion 
that the English were in his power, and only saw the tempting occa- 
sion to perform an exploit of arms: giving no answer to captain 
Harvey, he ordered a charge upon the English. His party came 
rapidly up to the charge, but stopped short when close to the enemy's 
line, and stood surprised at the tranquil aspect with which their rush 
was awaited. Seeing that they hesitated, Harvey ordered his men to 
charge. Fitz-Gibbon's troop gave way at once, and left nearly half 
their number dead or wounded on the field. The white knight, on 
being informed of this affair, condemned the rashness of his son ; and 
the guide, who, on enquiry, was discovered to have set on the English 

* Pacata Hib. 


soldiers from a malicious motive, was, by order of the president, 

The president, aware of the enthusiasm of the Kerrymen for the 
Desmond family, caused a person in the livery of the young earl of 
Desmond to be shown in several places, and a report spread, that the 
earl himself was soon to make his appearance in the country an ex- 
pedient at this time actually entertained, and soon after tried. The 
Sugan earl had with him five hundred mercenaries, together with such 
forces as the chiefs of his party could draw together. But the acti- 
vity of Sir Charles Wilmot, to whom in the interval the main opera- 
tions, consisting chiefly of detachments, had been committed, brought 
over the minds of many, and among these of Fitz- Gerald the knight 
of Kerry so that he not only professed his desire to become a British 
subject; but on Desmond's coming to Dingle, refused to give him 
entrance to his castle. In return, the Sugan earl destroyed as much 
as he could, and went on to Castlemagne. Not long after the knight 
made his submission, and was accepted in form; and the Sugan earl, 
with Pierce Lacy, entering his country with a view to plunder, he 
gave them battle, and routed them with a loss of sixteen of their men 
and two officers of mercenaries. 

The affairs of the Sugan earl were gradually drawing to a point. 
The lord president, unable to carry matters by a decisive action, had 
contrived to make the most judicious arrangements, securing the 
country every where as he advanced his line of operation. He carried 
the war into the disaffected parts, and placed his garrison in the most 
commanding positions in the countries of his chief opponents. Above 
all, he had at an early period of the year occupied Askeaton and Kil- 
mallock with strong garrisons, which were productive of more decisive 
advantages as the rebellion approached nearer to its crisis. 

The garrison of Kerry at the present period, (the beginning of 
September, 1600,) distressed the Sugan earl so much, that he found it 
difficult to maintain his force. In this juncture he wrote the following 
letter to Florence M'Carthy: 

"Mr LORD, 

" Your letter I have received, and the present time of service is now 
at hand, which by letters, nor any excuse so ineffectual ought to be 
delayed; and whereas you write, that you intend to confer with the 
president and the earl of Thomond, I marvel that one of your lord- 
ship's acquaintance with their proceedings, doeth not yet know their en- 
ticing bayts and humours to entrap us all within the nets of their policies; 
your vow to God and this action for the maintenance of the church and 
defence of our own right, should not for any respect be unregarded : you 
know that of long time your lordship hath been suitor to the queen and 
council, and could not at any time prevail nor get any likliehood of your 
settlement. And now, being duly placed by the assent of the church, 
and us the nobilitie of this action, your lordship should work all means 
possible for to maintain the same. You know the ancient and general 
malice that heretofore they bare to all Irish birth, and much more 
they rave at the present, so as it is very bootless for any of us all to 
seek their favours or countenance, which were but a mean to work 




our total subversion. Write me effectually your lordship's mind, and 
what resolution you purpose to follow, whereby I may proceed accord- 
ingly. This armie is but very slender, for they are but sixe hundred 
foot, and eightie horse. Wee expect your lordship's assistance, which 
we heartily desire, and not any further to deferre us with letters, as 
you respect us and the service: and, whereas you write, you have no 
force, your own presence, and the fruite of your comming, will much 
further the service, and dismay the enemy, &c. 2d September, 1 600. 

" Your loving Cousen, 


But the situation of the Sugan earl was too replete with danger to 
admit of open assistance from one so cautious as M'Carthy who satis- 
fied his affection to the cause, with temporizing messages, and per- 
haps vague intentions. The earl, closely pressed by Wilmot, was 
driven out of Kerry. His allies and associates began to perceive the 
ruin which was coming so fast upon his cause; yet reluctant to desert 
him, strongly urged his flight from the south, promising to support 
him when he should return with an army sufficient to make resistance 
practicable. So strongly, indeed, was the necessity of submission be- 
ginning to be felt, and so fiercely at the same time did the fire of re- 
bellion burn under its embers, that the chiefs sent an ambassador to 
Rome to purchase absolution for their feigned submission to the 
queen,* and a dispensation for their further continuance in a course 
so inconsistent with their profession of faith.'j' 

The Sugan earl, having left Kerry, was on his way to the fortress 
of Arlogh, when the report of his approach reached Kilmallock; se- 
veral companies stationed in this place hastened out to meet him: 
and unfortunately for the earl, his troops were seen and intercepted 
before they were able to gain the covert of a wood, near which they 
were marching. They were instantly charged by captain Graeme's 
company, who obtained possession of their baggage, and killed all 
those who guarded it. A spirited rally was made by the Irish for the 
recovery of their baggage; but a few more charges threw them into 
confusion. Flight and slaughter began to fill the plain : 1 20 of the 
earl's men were killed, and 80 wounded. Among other things, three 
hundred horses laden with baggage, with a large prey of cattle, were 
secured by the English party. In this battle captain Graeme had 
sixteen of his men slain, and a few horses wounded. 

From this moment the fortunes of the Sugan earl became hopeless. 
His friends departed to their homes his followers deserted and he 
could no longer collect a hundred men. With his brother John, the 
knight of the Glyn, and two other gentlemen, he left the county of 
Cork, and made the best of his way into Tipperary and Ormonde: 
from whence his companions retired from a field of enterprise which 
now presented no hope of retrieve, and took refuge in Ulster ; where 
under the earl of Tyrone's command, the cause of insurrection still 
held its precarious existence. The rebellion in Ireland had not in 
fact, at any time, assumed its most formidable aspect in the south ; it 
was rather a perplexed tissue of intrigues, murders, and tumults, than 
* Pac. Hiber. f Camden. 



a contest of military operations. Sir George Carew has been con- 
demned by some of our historians, for the means which he sometimes 
adopted to obtain his ends ; were it worth while, and could we allow 
ourselves space, it would be easy to show that he had no better means 
than to avail himself of the character of the allies and the enemies 
with whom he had to deal: their moral code was not of the strictest, 
and their laws of war included every crime within the broad latitude 
of human nature. The age itself was but doubtfully advanced in civi- 
lization: the contest was carried on with an enemy which had little idea 
of war without murder, robbery, breach of faith, and treachery ; then 
there was no strict rule, either express or understood, to debar Sir 
George Carew from taking the occasional advantages afforded by the 
tactics of an enemy who, it must be recollected, stood upon the low 
ground of treason and rebellion in the estimate of the English govern- 
ment. Amongst those shocking and revolting incidents to which this 
monstrous state of things gave occasion, we could enumerate many. 
It was at the time at which we are now arrived, that Honor O Brien, 
sister to the earl of Thomond, and wife to lord Kerry, invited a per- 
son of the name of Stack to dine with her, and caused him to be mur- 
dered; his brother, who was a prisoner in the castle, was next day 
hanged by order of lord Kerry. Such was the summary justice of 
Irish chiefs in that age: it was evidently the maxim that every one 
had the right, now only recognised in fields of battle, to kill his 
enemy as he might; and every one whose death became in any way 
desirable, was an enemy. 

The unfortunate earl of Desmond found little prospect of relief or 
aid in Ormonde; he had perhaps come thither for the purpose of 
escaping the attention of Carew, and with a design to return when he 
safely might. In October, the president obtained intelligence that 
he had stolen back and was lurking with a few followers about the 
woods of Arlogh. 

In the month of October, in the same year, the queen put into exe- 
cution her plan for drawing away the affections of the county of Kerry 
from the Sugan earl by sending over the son of the 16th earl, attainted 
1582. This youth had in his infancy been detained in England, where 
he had been born, and kept prisoner in the Tower. He was now sent 
over with the title of the earl of Desmond, to the care of the lord 
president. For his maintenance, a captain and his company were to be 
dismissed, and their pay allotted to this purpose. The patent for his 
title was to be retained by the lord-president, until he might be enabled 
to judge of the success of the plan. From the reception of the young 
lord by the people this was soon decided. 

To bring this matter to the test, the president gave the young lord 
permission to travel into Limerick, under the care of the archbishop 
of Cashel . and Master Boyle, clerk of the council, (afterwards first 
carl of Cork.) On a Saturday evening the party entered Kilmallock. 
The report of their coming had reached this town before them; 
and the effect was such as might seem to warrant the most san- 
guine expectations. The streets were thronged to the utmost with 
the people from the surrounding country every window was full of 
earnest and eager faces the roofs were alive with a shouting and 

i. 2 o Ir. 


cheering rabble aiid every " projecting buttress and coigne of van- 
tage" bore its share of acclamation and loyalty to the heir of the old 
earl. He was invited to dine at Sir George Thornton's, and so dense 
was the crowd, that it was half-an-hour before a lane of soldiers could 
enable him to reach his mansion. After supper the same press retarded 
his return to his own lodging. 

All this enthusiasm was easily dispelled. If the young lord had drawn 
favourable hopes, or high notions of the loyalty of the Limerick 
people to the house of his fathers, a few hours more were to enlighten 
him on this head. The next day was Sunday, and he was, as was his 
wont, proceeding to church, when he was surrounded by a multitude, 
whose language he did not understand, but who, by their tones and 
gestures, were evidently endeavouring to dissuade him from entering 
the church. The young earl went on and entered. On coming out after 
service he was met with abuse and execration: and from that moment no 
one came near him. It was also quickly ascertained, that the numer- 
ous persons who had possession of the Desmond estates under the 
crown, looked with natural apprehension on the chance so detrimental 
to their interests, of the restoration which would transfer them from 
the lax management of the English plantations, to the gripe of the 
exacting and despotic earl of Desmond. 

This unfortunate youth, the rightful heritor of the house of Des- 
mond, having been thus painfully held for a few days in a position of 
high and flattering expectation, was restored to an obscurity rendered 
doubly painful by disappointment. If his long state of depression had 
not eradicated in his breast all the spirit of his race, his misfortune, 
to which education and the habits of life must have reconciled him, 
was aggravated; and the penalty of his father's crimes, revived to be 
inflicted afresh on him. What had been a privation hardly felt, was 
thus become an insult and a wrong. And such we should infer from 
his brief remaining history was the manner in which this reckless act 
of despotism affected its unhappy object. Having been found of no 
use in Ireland ; and after having exerted himself to the utmost to meet 
the wishes of the queen, he was brought back to England, where he 
died in a few months, and with him the honours of the house of Des- 

The Sugan earl was become a fugitive, and with two or three per- 
sons led a life of fear and hardship, skulking from forest to forest, 
and from desert to desert among the savage glens and defiles of Ar- 
logh, in Drumfinnin, and in the county of Tipperary. In the latter place 
his maternal relations were ready to attend to his wants, but personal 
safety was become a principal object, and no place could long be 
safe for a fugitive, from the vigilance and activity of lord presi- 
dent Carew. Of his allies some had been more successful ; Lacy had 
got together a small body of men and awaited the return of John of 
Desmond, who went to Ulster to apply to the earl of Tyrone for aid. 
Tyrone had, however, to mind his own defence, which, against the 
skilful and efficient conduct of the able and spirited Mountjoy, more 
than tasked his whole means and force. 

In the month of November, most of the few remaining castles which 
were held against the queen were taken. The strong castle of Conni- 


logh was surprised Castlemagne was surrendered from regard to the 
young earl of Desmond Listowel was taken after a short but desperate 
siege. Of this latter the incidents have too much interest to be omit- 
ted here. 

The castle of Listowel belonged to Fitz-Maurice, lord of Lixnaw, 
who was one of the most inveterate opponents of the president's 
government. Being the only one of his castles which had not been 
taken, Sir C. Wilmot was determined to seize it. On the fifth of 
November he besieged it, and ordered the wall to be undermined. 
After nearly a week's hard work, his men had opened a deep mine 
under the foundation ; but they had hardly finished the chamber in 
which the powder was to be lodged, when a spring gushed out upon 
the cavity and entirely frustrated the attempt. The labour was there- 
fore renewed on another part of the foundation ; and the miners were 
successful in reaching far under the middle of the cellar. An appli- 
cation was at this period made by the garrison for leave to depart 
from the castle ; but as they had first done all the mischief in their 
power nine of the besiegers having fallen, and had now no longer a 
choice Sir Charles did not think it fit or expedient to grant such terms. 
They were therefore compelled to surrender at discretion; and the 
women and children were suffered to depart. Among the latter was 
the eldest son of the lord of Lixnaw : the people of the castle, aware, 
that if recognised, its seizure must ensue, disguised it by changing its 
attire, and having smeared it with mud, placed it over the back of an 
old woman who bore it away without being questioned. It was not long 
before Sir Charles became aware of the circumstance; and a pursuit 
was immediately commanded. All was vain, until he thought of ques- 
tioning a priest, who had been taken among the prisoners. The follow- 
ing is the account given by Sir G. Carew himself of the conversation 
between Sir C. Wilmot and MacBrodie the priest: MacBrodie ad- 
mitted " that he could best resolve him, for that he himselfe had given 
direction to the woman where shee should bestow the child till shee 
might deliver him to his father. ' Why then,' saith Sir Charles, ' will 
you not conduct me to him ? Know you not that it is in my power to 
hang you or to save you? Yes; and I assure you if you will not guide 
me to the place where he lieth hidden, I will cause you to be instantly 
hanged.' The priest answered, That it was all one to him whether he 
died this day or to-morrow; but yet, if he might have his word, for 
the sparing of his owne life and the childes, hee might reveale his 
knowledge; otherwayes the governor might do his pleasure. Sir 
Charles, though very unwilling to grant the priest his life, yet the 
earnest desire hee had to gett the child into his hands, caused him to 
agree thereto. The priest, being put into a hand-locke, is sent with a 
captaine and a good guard of souldiers about this businesse, who 
guided them to a wood, sixe miles from the castle, by reason of thicke 
bryers and thorns, almost unpassable, in the middest whereof there is 
a hollow cave within the ground, not much unlike by description, to 
Cacus his denne, or the mouth of Avernus, in which desolate place 
they found that old woman and this young childe, whom they brought 
to the governor, and the priest and childe were shortly after sent to 
the president."* 

* Pacata Hib. 


While the lord -president was at Clonmel, whither he had gone to 
confer with the earl of Ormonde, he received information that the fugi- 
tive lords were lurking in the vicinity, where they had already com- 
mitted many extensive depredations. He therefore undertook a strict 
search. While he was thus engaged, a youth was brought before 
him, who had been in the Sugan earl's service ; and, on being ques- 
tioned, undertook to conduct a party to where his master lay. For 
some time there had been a close pursuit, of which we regret not 
being able to present the reader with any authorized details, but which 
can easily be followed up by his imagination, into the variety of 
romantic escapes and emergencies, of which every day must have had 
its share. The deep and rugged glens and mountain hollows, the 
marshy vales, and the broad wildernesses of dark forest and tangled 
thicket, were now all explored by human fear and misfortune, and 
traced through their recesses and leafy mazes, by the stern activity of 
military pursuit. Enmity guided by treachery, dogged the fallen 
earl from den to den, and from hut to hut, nor could he in this forlorn 
condition reckon on the fidelity of any one of those whose aid, guid- 
ance, or hospitality, his utter necessity required. The actual proof 
that this description is something more than imaginary, may be found 
in the brief statement of Sir George Carew, who mentions that they 
frequently reached the place of his concealment just a little after 
he had escaped from it. The earl of Thomond, Sir G. Thornton, 
and other officers, were now sent with their companies, along 
with this guide, who conducted them to the woods of Drumfinnan ; 
but as they approached the border of the woods a cry was raised, 
and a tumult ran through the forest depth, as from persons in flight, 
while the soldiers, dashing aside the thick boughs, rushed in to give 
chase. The Sugan earl made his escape; he ran without waiting to 
put on his shoes. His companion, (a Romish priest,) was overtaken 
by the soldiers ; but his " simple mantle," and " torn trowsers" deceiv- 
ed them seeing but a poor old man, unable to bear a weapon, they 
left him unmolested. Thus were the Sugan earl and his companions 
reduced to the condition of hunted beasts, in daily alarm for their 
lives, without the commonest necessaries, and compelled mostly to 
conceal themselves in places selected for their very discomfort. The 
province was, however, reduced to order and peaceful subjection. No 
castle was in the hands of an enemy to the queen's government. No 
hostile army levied contributions, seized or plundered, or kept the coun- 
try in terror; but every one was enabled securely to leave his cattle 
in the fields. And the lord-president, having dismissed five hundred 
men, was enabled to offer to send a thousand to serve in Leinster. 

On the 13th of January, 1601, the lord -president was enabled to 
give intelligence to the English council of the approaching invasion 
of the Spaniards. His information was avouched by a variety of docu- 
ments, which left little doubt on the subject, and confirmed strongly, 
by the appearance in the country of numerous foreign ecclesiastics, the 
accuracy of this intelligence. Enough has been already seen in our 
notice of O'Donell, and has also been more fully confirmed by the his- 
tory of the earl of Tyrone's rebellion, which may be said to have com- 
prised as the acts of a drama, all these lesser parts. 



The Munster rebels were also ascertained to be chiefly maintained 
by the earl of Tyrone, and even the precise allowances in money or 
military stores were communicated to the lord-president, who amongst 
other statements mentions the following 1 sums: to the lord of Lixnaw, 
L.14; to the Sugan earl, L.10; to Pierce Lacie, L.8; to M.'Donough, 
L.I 2; to Redmonde Burke, L.500; to Teague O'Rouke, L.500. By 
which it may seem that these two last alone were in such a condition as 
to give the earl any hope of service from them. 

The Sugan earl was, at the close of the year, reduced to such ex- 
tremities, that it was little likely he could continue much longer to 
find refuge in the protection or connivance of those who perpetually 
saw fresh reason to be cautious in their movements. One day the 
lord-president had notice that he was at the time remaining with 
Dermond O'Dogan, a harper, by whom he was frequently received. 
A party of soldiers entered the wood where O'Dogan lived, but on 
reaching the house, discovered that the inmates had been on the point 
of sitting down to supper, but had on their approach taken flight into 
the woods; a mantle which they recognized, apprized them that Des- 
mond was surely of the party. They instantly went in pursuit, but 
had not gone far when O'Dogan, and two others, having concealed 
the Sugan earl among the thickets, showed themselves in a distant 
open of the trees, until they attracted the soldiers' notice, and then 
took to flight, " with the Lapwings police."* They were readily pur- 
sued by the soldiers, who began to approach them after a long chase, 
as they reached the white knight's country, where a crowd of people 
rose in arms to their rescue. For this the pursuers were quite unpre- 
pared, and were compelled to leave them. On this pretence the lord 
Barry was loud in complaint against the white knight, against whom 
he entertained a violent enmity, and in consequence the knight was 
called before the president, who spoke to him so strongly, and with 
such decided effect, that the knight promised to exert himself for the 
capture of Desmond, engaging that in a few days he would give a 
good account of him, alive or dead, if he should be found in his 

The white knight returning home, collected a few of his most faith- 
ful friends and followers, and informed them of his pledge. One of 
these asked if he would really seize the Sugan earl if he could find 
him. The knight assured him it was his sincere design, and the man 
undertook to guide him. On the 20th day of May, 1601, this party 
took horse and rode to the mountain of Slieve Gort. Here, in a deep 
cavern, among the mountain cliffs, the Sugan earl lurked with his little 
party. At the entrance of the cavern, the white knight, in a loud 
voice called on Desmond to come forth and surrender himself. But 
the earl, not believing that the knight's companions would seize him, 
and supposing that on sight of him they would rather take his part, 
came stoutly forth to the mouth of the cavern: as he was seen 
emerging from the darkness of the interior, he assumed a commanding 
manner, and called out to the party to seize on the white knight and 
secure him. As the knight and all his party were the subjects of 

* Pacata Hib. 



Desmond, this expedient was not without some hope of success; it was 
indeed his last chance of escape, and it entirely failed. Without con- 
descending to make even a reply, the party at once surrounded their 
pretended lord, and in despite of his peremptory voice and looks they 
disarmed and bound himself and his foster-brother, and brought them 
away to the white knight's castle of Kilvenny, from whence a messenger 
was dispatched to the lord-president. On receiving this message a party 
from Kilmallock was sent to escort the prisoner. He was secured in 
Shandon castle, until he should be sent to England, and his custody 
was committed to captain Slingsby. The captain, considering that 
there was no hope for the prisoner, and that therefore nothing of a 
consolatory kind could be said, felt disposed to avoid all conversa- 
tion with him, but Desmond, who was not inclined to be silent, or 
to let pass any occasion of making an impression which might be 
afterwards useful, of himself accosted the captain, and spent the night 
in extenuations to which it is probable little heed was seriously given. 
He represented that he had been an unwilling instrument of rebellion, 
and throughout urged on by the influence of others ; that had he 
withstood the motives for taking the title of Desmond, it would have 
been taken by his brother John. He also pleaded his having ever 
avoided the shedding of English blood. He asserted his own prior 
title to the earldom, of which his father had been unfairly disinherited 
by the influence of his stepmother. With these and such topics he 
entertained captain Slingsby during the night. On the next morning 
an order came that he should be conveyed to Cork, where he was to 
be tried. At Cork his trial took place : he was indicted, arraigned, 
convicted, and condemned to be executed as a traitor. But the lord 
president wrote to advise that he should be confined to the Tower of 
London, as while he lived his brother could lay no claim to the earldom. 
While a prisoner in Cork, the Sugan earl wrote the following re- 
presentation to the president, which was forwarded with a letter from 
the lord-president, both of which may interest the reader : 

" The relation of James of Desmond, to the Right Honourable 
Sir George Carew, lord president of Mounster, most humbly beseech- 
ing your honour to certijie her majesty, and the lords of her most hon- 
ourable councell of the same : hoping in the Almighty, that her highness 
of her accustomed clemencie and mercy, by your intercession will take 
most gratious and mercifull consideration thereof, to the end that her 
majesties realme of Ireland shall be better planted and maintained in 
good government by his release. The third of June 1601. 

" First, it may please your honour, to consider that this action at the 
beginning was never pretended, intended, nor drawen by mee, nor my 
consent; but by my brother John, and Pierce Lacy, having the oaths 
and promises of divers noblemen, and gentlemen of this province, to 
inaintaine the same, and not even consented unto by me, untill Sir 
Thomas Norris left Kilmallock, and the Irish forces camped at 
Rekeloe in Connologh, where they staid five or sixe dayes; the most of 
the country combining and adjoyning with them, and undertooke to 
hold with my brother John, if I had not come to them. The next 
sessions (before these proceedings,) at Corke. Sir Thomas Norris 


arrested me (in person), therefore my brother, he being then suspected 
by him, and intending to keep me in perpetuall prison for him, untill 
I made my escape; by this the intent of Sir Thomas Norris being 
knowen, the feare and terrification thereof drew me into this action, 
and had I been assured of my liberty, and not clapt into prison for my 
brother's offence, I had never entered into this action ; further, I was 
bordered with most English neighbours, of the gentlemen of this pro- 
vince; I defie any English that can charge me with hindring of them, 
either in body or goods; but as many as ever came in my presence, I 
conveyed them away from time to time. 

" Also it is to be expected, that the Spanish forces are to come into 
Ireland this summer, and O'Neale will send up the strongest army of 
northern men into Mounster, with my brother John, the lord of Lix- 
naw, and Pierce Lacy, and when they are footed in Mounster, the 
most part of the countrey will joyne with them : preventing this and 
many other circumstances of service, the saving of my life is more 
beneficiall for her majestic then my death: for it may please her 
majestie to be gratious unto me, I will reclaime my brother, the lord 
of Lixnaw, and Pierce Lacy, if it please her majestie to bee gratious 
unto them, or else so diligently worke againste them with her majes- 
ties forces, and your directions, that they shall not be able to make 
head, or stirre in Mounster at all; for by the saving of my life, her 
highnesse will winne the hearts in generall of all her subjects, and 
people in Ireland, my owne service, and continuance of my alliance 
in dutifull sort, all the dayes of their lives. 

" Farther, I most humbly beseech your honour to forsee, that there 
are three others of my sept and race alive. The one is in England, 
my uncle Garrets sonne, James, set at liberty by her majestie, and in 
hope to obtaine her majesties favour, my brother in Ulster, and my 
cosen Maurice Fitz-John in Spaine, wherewith it may be expected, 
that either of these (if I were gone) by her majesties favour might 
be brought in credit, and restored to the house, it may therefore please 
her majestie to bee gratious unto me, assuring to God and the world, 
that I will bee true and faithful to her majestie during life, by which 
meanes her majesties government may bee the better setled, myselfe 
and all others my alliance, for ever bound to pray for her majesties 
life long to continue." 

But afterward being examined by the president, and the provincial 
council, he added some other reasons for his taking of arms against 
her majesty, which in its due place shall be mentioned. In the dis- 
patch which the president made into England upon his apprehension, 
he wrote a letter to her majesty as followeth: 

The Lord Presidents letter to Her Majesty. 

"To my unspeakable joy, I have received your majesties letters 
signed with your royall hand, and blessed with an extraordinarie 
addition to the same, which although it cannot increase my faith and 
zeale in your majesties service, which from my cradle (I thanke God) 
for it was ingrafted in my heart, yet it infinitely multiplies my comforts 
in the same, and wherein my endeavours and poore merites shall 


appeare to bee short of such inestimable favours, my never dying 
prayers for your majesties eternall prosperitie shall never faile to the 
last day of life, but when I compare the felicities which other men 
enjoy, with my unfortunate destinie, to be deprived from the sight of 
your royall person, which my heart with all loyall affection (inferior to 
none) evermore attends, I live like one lost to himselfe, and wither 
out my dayes in torment of minde, untill it shall please your sacred 
majestic to redeeme mee from this exile, which unlesse it bee for my 
sinnes, (upon the knees of my heart) I doe humbly beseech your 
majestic to commiserate, and to shorten the same, as speedily as may 
bee since my time of banishment in this rebellious kingdome (for better 
than a banishment I cannot esteeme my fortune, that deprives me from 
beholding your majesties person) although I have not done as much 
as I desire in the charge I undergoe, yet to make it appeare that I 
have not been idle, (I thanke God for it) I have now by the means of 
the white knight, gotten into my hands the bodie of James Fits- 
Thomas, that arch traytour, and usurping earle, whom for a present 
with the best conveniencie and safetie which I may finde, I will by 
some trustie gentleman send unto your majestic, whereby I hope this 
province is made sure from any present defection. And now that my 
laske is ended, I doe in all humilitie beseech, that in your princely 
commiseration my exile may end, protesting the same to bee a greater 
affliction to me than I can well endure; for as my faith is undivided, 
and onely professed (as by divine and human lawes the same is bound) 
in vassalage to your majestic ; so doth my heart covet nothing so much, 
as to bee evermore attendant on your sacred person, accounting it a 
happinesse unto mee to dye at your feet ; not doubting but that your 
majestic out of your princely and royall bountie, will enable me by 
some means or other to sustaine the rest of my dayes in your service, 
and that my fortune shall not be the worse, in that I am not any im- 
portunate craver, or yet in not using other arguments to move your 
majestie there unto, then this, assai dimandi qui ben serve e face. So 
humbly beseeching your majesties pardon in troubling you with these 
lines, unworthy your divine eyes, doe kisse the shadows of your royall 
feet. From your majesties citie of Corke, this third of June, 1601.* 

From this letter Sir G. Carew goes on to remark, " He was within 
one year before his apprehension, the most potent and mightie Ger- 
aldine that had been of any of the carles of Desmond, his predecessors. 
For it is certainly reported that he had eight thousand men well arm- 
ed under his command at one time, all which he employed against his 
lawful soveraigne; and secondly, a notorious traytour, because hee 
sought to bring a most infamous slander upon a most vertuous and 
renowned prince, (his queen and mistress) with his false suggestions 
into forraine princes ; and notwithstanding that her name was eternised 
with the shrill sounding trumpet of fame, for the meekest and mildest 
prince that ever raigned, yet was not hee ashamed, (so farre had the 
rancour of malice corrupted his venemous heart) to inculcate into the 
ears of the Pope and Spanish king, that she was more tyrannical than 
Pharooh, and more blood-thirstie than Nero. But because I may be 

* Pacata Hib. vol. i. p. 251. 



thought to fain these allegations, to aggravate his treason, I will, there- 
fore (for satisfaction of the reader), set downe the very wordes of 
two of his letters bearing one date, which he sent to the king of Spaine. 

A letter from James Fits-Thomas to the king of Spain, 

" Most mighty monarch, I humbly salute your imperiall majesty, giving 
your highness to understand of our great misery, and violent order, 
wherewith wee are of long time opprest by the English nation. Their 
government is such as Pharoah himself never used the like ; for they 
content not themselves with all temporall superiority, but by cruelty 
desire our blood, and perpetuall destruction to blot out the whole re- 
membrance of our posterity; as also our old Catholike religion, and to 
sweare that the queene of England is supreame of the church. I re- 
ferre the consideration hereof to your majestie's high judgment, for 
that Nero in his time was farre inferior to that queen in cruelty. 
Wherefore, and for the respects thereof, high, mighty potentate, my- 
selfe, with my followers and retainers, and being also requested by the 
bishops, prelates, and religious men of my country, have drawn my 
sword, and proclaimed warres against them, for the recovery first of 
Christ's Catholike religion, and next for the maintenance of my own 
right, which of long time hath been wrongfully detained from mee 
and my father, who, by right succession, was lawful heire to the earle- 
dome of Desmond ; for he was eldest sonne to James, my grand- 
father, who was earle of Desmond ; and for that, uncle Gerald (being 
the younger brother) tooke part with the wicked proceedings of the 
queene of England, to further the unlawfull claime of supremacie, 
usurped the name of earle of Desmond, in my father's true title ; yet 
notwithstanding, hee had not long enjoyed his name of earle, when 
the wicked English annoyed him, and prosecuted wars, that hee with 
the most part of those that held of side, was slaine, and his country 
thereby planted with Englishmen: and now by the just judgment and 
providence of God. I have utterly rooted those malepert bowes out of 
the orchard of my country, and have profited so much in my proceed- 
ings, that my dastardly enemies dare not show their faces in any part 
of my countrey, but having taken my towns and cities for their refuge 
and strength, where they doe remaine, (as yet were prisoners) for want 
of means to assaile them, as cannon and powder, which my countrey 
doth not yeeld. Having these wants, most noble potentate, I have 
presumed, with all humility, to address these my letters to your high 
majestie, craving the same of your gratious clemencie and goodnesse, 
to assist mee in this godly enterprise, with some help of such neces- 
saries for the warres, as your majestie shall think requisite; and after 
the quiet of my countrey, satisfaction shall be truly made for the same, 
and myselfe in person, with all my forces, shall be ready to serve your 
highnesse, in any countrey your majesty may command me. 

"And if your majestie will vouchsafe to send me a competent number 
of souldiers, I will place them in some of townes and cities, to remaine 
in your gratious disposition, till such time as my ability shall make 
good, what your majestie shall lend me in money and munition; and 
also your majestie's high commission, under the broad seal for leading 
and conducting of these souldiers, according to the prescript order 


and articles of marshall discipline, as your majestie shall appoint me, 
and as the service of the land shall require. I praise the Almighty 
God, I have done by his goodnesse, more than all my predecessors; 
for I have reclaimed all the nobility of this part, under the dutifull 
obedience of Christ's church, and mine own authority, and accordingly 
have taken pledges and corporall oathes, never to swarve from the 
same; and would have sent them to your majestie, by this bearer, 
but that the ship was not of sufficiency and strength to carry so noble 
personages, and will send them whensoever your highnesses please. 
So there resteth nothing to quiet this part of the world, but your 
majestie's assistance, which I daily expect. Thus, most mighty mon- 
arch, I humbly take my leave, and doe kisse your royall hands, be- 
seeching the Almighty of your majesties health and happinesse. From 
my campe, the fourteenth day of March, 1599- 

" Your majesties most humble at all command, 


Another letter from James Fitz- Thomas to the king of Spain. 

" Your majestie shall understand that the bearer hereof, Captain 
Andrew Roche, hath been always in the service of the queene of Eng- 
land, and hath performed her manifold services at sea; whereby he 
had great preferment and credit, and being of late time conversant 
with Catholikes, and teachers of divine instructions, that were sory for 
his lewd life, made known unto him the danger wherein his soul was, 
so that, by their godly persuasions, he was at that time reclaimed, 
and subverted to bee a good Catholike, and to spend the residue of his 
life in the defence and service of the church ; since which time of re- 
concilement, bee was to repaire to your majestie with his ship and 
goods, as is well knowen to your highness' councell, who confiscated 
that ship to your majestie's use; himself being at that time struken 
with extreame sicknesse, that he was not able to proceed in the voyage ; 
and when his company returned into Ireland, they reported that the 
Santado wished rather his person than his ship, which made him feare- 
full ever since to repaire thither, till hee should deserve his freedome 
by some worthy service to your majestie. 

" The heire apparent to the crowne of England had been carried by 
him to your highness, but that he was bewrayed by some of his owne 
men, and thereby was intercepted, and himself taken prisoner, where 
he remained of long, till by the providence of God, and the help of 
good friends, hee was conveyed into Ireland to me in a small boat; 
and leaving these occasions to your imperial majestie, and being as- 
sured of his trust, faith, and confidence towards mee, have committed 
this charge into his hands ; the rather for that I understand your 
royall fleete is directed for England this yeare, to the end he may be 
a leader and conductor to them in the coast of England and Ireland, 
being very expert in the knowledge thereof, and in the whole art of 
navigation. And thus, with all humility, I commit your highnesse to 
the Almighty. From my campe, the fourteenth of March, 1599-* 
" Your majesties most humble at all command, 

* Piicata Hib. p. 2.52. 



While he remained a prisoner in Shandon castle, the president 
caused him to be frequently brought before him, and examined him 
minutely to ascertain the true causes of the Munster rebellion; he 
thus obtained some statements which were confirmed fey circumstance , 
all of which are specially mentioned by the president of Munster as 
exhibiting in a clear light how trifling were the pretexts of this re- 
bellion. Many of these reasons will not appear now so trifling, but 
we shall, however, reserve them for an occasion further on, when we 
shall be enabled to give them a more full and satisfactory discussion. 
We shall here be content to state, that religion was the main and 
principal pretext while the remainder were grievances which, though 
affording far more justifiable ground for discontent, were put forward 
as matters of less comparative moment. 

Among these revelations of the Sugan earl, the most immediately 
iinportant were those which gave the fullest and clearest light upon 
the intercourse of the Irish insurgents with the king of Spain, and 
left little doubt that a Spanish expedition into Ireland was in prepara- 
tion, and ere long to be looked for. And next the circumstantial 
crimination of Florence MacCarthy, as having taken a very leading 
part in this design. It was on this information, that the lord-president 
ordered the arrest of MacCarthy, which was the easier to effect, as the 
double part which he had throughout acted prevented his taking 
much precaution. When he was arrested, his house was searched, 
and various letters were found, amply serving to confirm all the 
charges of the Sugan earl. 

On the 14th of August, 1601, both the Sugan earl and MacCarthy 
were conveyed to London, and committed to the Tower. There the 
Sugan earl continued for the remainder of his life, and died in 1608. 
He was interred in the Tower chapel. 



DIED A. D. 1478. 

THIS earl was attainted for his faithful adherence to the Lancas- 
trian monai-ch. Edward IV., however, restored him in blood. He is 
memorable as the most finished gentleman of his day. Edward IV., 
himself eminent for manners and accomplishments beyond the rudeness 
of his age, said of him, " that he was the goodliest knight he ever 
beheld, and the finest gentleman in Christendom; and that if good- 
breeding, good-nature, and liberal qualities were lost in the world, 
they might all be found in John, earl of Ormond." He was master 
of most living languages of Europe, and had been employed by Edward 
IV. as his ambassador to every court. 

He did not marry. He made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where 
he died, 1478. 



DIED A. D. 1539. 

WE have already stated how this nobleman and his lady, a sister of 
the ninth earl of Kildare, were reduced to a condition of the most de- 
plorable privation, and compelled to conceal themselves in some lowly 
dwelling among 1 the woods, till, driven by the complaints of his wife, 
and his sense of wrong, he surprised and slew the usurper, and thus 
regained his estates and honours. 

His family had, by the result of a series of political events, most of 
which have been noticed under their proper heads, been depressed in 
power and party importance in Ireland. This disadvantage was to 
some extent counterbalanced by court favour, and that social im- 
portance which results from polished manners and liberal accomplish- 
ments ; in which respect, the members of this illustrious race appear 
constantly in advance of their times, and seem to have transmitted 
through many descents, a vein of more refined humanity than the 
historian may otherwise trace in the 15th and 16th centuries. The 
earls of Ormonde were in these ages more frequently to be found high 
in the councils and favour of the English monarchs, while the two 
great branches of the Geraldines, present, on the other hand, a uniform 
affinity for the Irish habits, and a strong tendency to factious move- 
ments. Their position and vast possessions in part account for these 
tendencies; but on a lengthened comparison carried through many 
generations, the singular uniformity becomes observable ; the immense 
pride the reckless activity the love of popularity the insubordinate 
temper, breaking out with nearly similar results in each successive 
generation, and ripening into the same successes and disasters, appear 
to assume the character of family features. 

When lord Surrey was sent over as lieutenant, the earl of Ormonde 
was active, efficient, and distinguished in promoting the success of his 
various expeditions against the O'Tooles, O'Carrol, and other native 
chiefs. His character is set in a strong point of view by the friend- 
ship of Surrey, who appears to have relied on his counsel in all impor- 
tant matters, and to have set high value on his conversation. This is 
made evident by his many letters to the king, and to Wolsey, in which 
he freely praises his conduct, and shows anxiety for his interests. In 
a letter to Wolsey in 1520, he writes, " beseeching your grace to cause 
thankful letters to be sent from the king's grace to the earl of Or- 
monde, as well for his diligence showed unto me at all times, as also 
for that he showeth himself ever, with his good advice and strength, to 
bring the king's intended purpose to good effect. Undoubtedly he is 
not only a wise man, and hath a true English heart, but he is the man 
of most experience in the feats in war of this country, of whom I have 
at all times the best counsel of any in this land. I would the earl of 
Desmond were of like wisdom and order." It is stated on strong 
authority, that although bearing the title of Ormonde, he was not fully 
recognised as such until 1528, although in the patent by which he was 
appointed lord deputy of Ireland, dated 6th March, 1522, he was de- 
nominated " Petrus Butteler comes Ormonde," without qualification. 


Ke was, during the time of Surrey's administration, involved in a 
party war with the earl of Desmond, and great efforts were made by 
government for their reconciliation. 

The most remarkable incident to be noticed in the life of this earl, 
is perhaps the treaty which was for some time in agitation for the 
marriage of his son with Anna Boleyn, the daughter of Sir Thomas 
Boleyn, and afterwards the unfortunate queen of Henry VIII., and 
mother of queen Elizabeth. Happy had it been for the lady, at least, 
had this treaty been carried into effect. The subject appears to have 
occupied considerable attention; it is thus mentioned in a communica- 
tion to Wolsey, from Surrey and his council : " And where, at our 
being with your grace, divers of us moved you to cause a marriage 
to be solemnized between the earl of Ormonde's son, being with your 
grace and Sir Thomas Boleyn's daughter. We think, if your grace 
caused that to be done, and a final end to be made between them, for 
the title of lands depending in variance, it should cause the said earl 
be better willed to see this land brought to good order."* The vari- 
ance here alluded to, was one of long standing, and arose from the cir- 
cumstance of Thomas, seventh earl of Ormonde, having had two 
daughters, and no male issue ; in consequence of this, his large English 
estates, 30,000 a-year, according to the present value of lands, went to 
his two daughters, while his Irish estates went with his title to the 
male heir. The parties were not, however, themselves, satisfied about 
their rights; one of the co-heirs married Sir William Boleyn, who 
seems to have thought himself entitled to the Irish properties and hon- 
ours. The marriage was approved by the earl ; but did not, as the 
reader is aware, take place. The dispute was shortly after settled by 
a compromise. Sir Thomas Boleyn was created earl of Ormonde, and 
earl Pierce received the title of Ossory. About ten years after, on 
the death of Sir Thomas without issue, the title of Ormonde was re- 
stored to the earl of Ossory. 

When Surrey, after remaining two years in the Irish government, 
was recalled, the earl of Ossory was, by his recommendation, appointed 
lord deputy. His conduct Avas such as to obtain for him in 1524 the 
office of lord treasurer, in Ireland. In 1528, he was again elected 
lord deputy by the council, and received many valuable testimonies of 
approbation also from the king. In 1537, he received a grant in con- 
firmation of his extensive Irish estates to himself and heirs. The 
estates mentioned in this give some notion of his wealth. Among 
other estates, were the names of Gowran, Knockfert, Knocktopher, 
Kilkenny, Glashan, Carrick, Thurles, Nenagh, Roscrea, &c. &c.f 

This earl was distinguished for his manly and honourable disposi- 
tions, which were generally respected ; he was sagacious, and firm in 
council ; a pleasing companion in private society, and a brave warrior 
in the field. He deserved the high praise of having exerted himself 
successfully for the improvement of the manners and condition of his 
people about Kilkenny, at a time when other eminent lords only thought 
of augmenting their estates and retaining power by unprincipled fac- 
tion and sanguinary wars. In conformity with this good disposition, 

* State Papers. f Lodge. 


the earl of Ormonde was exemplary for the zeal and devotion of his 
religious observances. It is told of him, that every year, for a fort- 
night previous to Easter, he retired for the purpose of self-examina- 
tion and holy exercise, to prepare himself for the reception of the 
sacrament at that festival. 

It must be admitted, that in the long and angry contests between 
him and the earl of Kildare, he was not behind that earl in hostility ; 
but it was a time when there was no choice between these fierce, and 
not very elevated contests of faction, and the total abandonment of 
every right. The following letter to his son, lord Butler, then with 
the king, may convey some notion of his own view of his position, and 
is otherwise of interest : 

" Ormonde to lord Butler. 

" In my loving maner I recommende me unto you, and lately hath had 
relacion, that certain of the counsaill, by the deputies meanes, have 
written over thider, to have the kinges letters addressed to me, prohi- 
biting me to take any Irishe mens part. Whereupon, ye most ever 
have good, secret, and diligent espyall, lest the kinges letters be so 
optayned, whiche then wold not oonly bee grete prejudice to me, and 
to you in tyme commyng, but also great discorage to all myne adher- 
entes to continue any amytie to me, or you herafter. Now, ye may 
perceive the parcialitie of theym, that so certified, being ordred and 
conducted therin, as the deputie wolde have theym; and during my 
being in thauctoritie, they never certified any of therl of Kildares ap- 
paraunt mysorder, or transgression, in any maner. Shewe the kinges 
grace, and my lord cardynall, of the soden wilfull invasion doon by 
the deputie upon O'Kerole, long after the date of the kinges letters 
now directed ; wherof I have rather certified you by a frere of mows- 
kery. Wherupon ye must devise in my name, to the king and my 
lord cardinall, as my trusty servaunt, Robert Couley, shall penn and 

" As for thindentures, they bee enfrengedbythe deputie, and in maner 
no point observed; and as for my parte, 1 will justifie, I have truly 
observed theym, to my gret losses, in suffring my adherentes and ser- 
vauntes distruccions. The deputie, now afore Ester, did set suche 
coyn and liverey in the 3 obedyent sheres, that mervaile it were to 
here two litell townes of myne, called Castell Warning, and Oghterarde, 
with any other towne, did bere 420 galloglas. For 4 myles the poor 
tenauntes be so empoverysshed, that they cannot paye my rentes, and 
the landes like to bee clere wast. Now, lately he hath sente out of 
the eschequier a writ to Waterforde, that all maires and bailliffes, that 
were there sens the furst yere of our souverain lord that now is, shold 
appere in 15 Pa* to geve accompt, before the barons, for al maner the 
king duties, revenues, and poundage there ; whiche is doon for a can- 
tcll to put me to losses and my heires. For Waterford hath a suffi- 
cient discharge, but oonly for my halff of the prises, and the 10 an- 
nuite, with the 20 markes to the churche; and as for the price, and 
10 of annuite, I must see theym discharged. Wherfore, ye must 

*Quindena Pusrha. 


labour to gette an especiall patent of the king of all the prises in this 
land, according to my graunte, made to myne anncesters by his most 
noble progenitours, and specially in Waterford, and the 10 of an- 
nuitie, without any accompt-making ; with this clause, " absque aliquo 
compoto," &c. If it bee not had, it will be moche prejudice to you in 
tyme commying; for this is doon to dryve you ever from the principall 
wynes, and the said annuitie, and not to have your prises till ye have 
a discharge out of theschequer, from tyme. In any wise, slepe not 
this matier, and if ye do, the most losses and trouble wil be yours in 
tyme commying. Immediat upon the receipt herof sende for Robert 
Couly, and cause hym to seche remedies for the same ; and, if James 
White bee not commying, let hym endeavor hymself to obteigne it. 
Furthermore, I desire you to make diligent hast hyther with the kinges 
licence; for surely, onles I see your tyme better employed in attend- 
ance of my great busynes, then ye have doon hither, I wolbe well 
avised, or I do sende you any more to your costes. 

" Written at Kilkenny, the 22d daye of April. 
(Superscribed) " To my son, James Butler, with the kings grace in 


This illustrious earl died in 1539, and was buried in St Canice's 
church, Kilkenny. 


DIED A. D. 1546. 

THE ninth earl of Ormonde took a prominent part in the Irish af- 
fairs of his time, long before the death of his father, in whose memoir 
we have already had occasion to notice him. He was, for many years, 
the great support and prop of his father's declining age, whom we can 
ascertain by his letters, recently published in the State Papers, to 
have placed much reliance on his zeal and judgment. 

We have already mentioned his spirited and noble answer to a letter 
from his unfortunate and guilty cousin. We have also mentioned, that 
in 1532, seven years before his accession to his father's honours, he 
was appointed lord high treasurer of Ireland for life. In 1535, he 
was appointed admiral of the kingdom, and the same year was created 
viscount Thurles. He was also appointed joint governor with his 
father, over Kilkenny, Waterford, and Tipperary ; and in the follow - 
ing year distinguished himself by the suppression of disturbances 
raised in Munster by James, the young earl of Desmond, whose father 
having died the same year, he was led by inexperience, inordinate 
ambition and evil counsel, to launch into the rebellious course so na- 
tive to his family, and so fatal to many of them. Lord Butler, then 
lord Thurles, was sent against him, and proceeded with the spirit and 
prudence of his character, to the attack of his territories about Lim- 
erick ; he also seized his castle at Lough Gur, and converted it into 
a fortress against him. We here give the reader one of his own 
letters on this occasion, which has been preserved iu the chapter-house, 
and recently published: 


" Lord Butler to Cromwell. 

"Please it your goodness to be advertised, that I have of late ad- 
dressed mine other letters to you, containing my proceedings in the 
west parts of this land, immediately after the winning of Dungarvon, 
to which my journey, if the lord deputy had spared me one of the 
battering pieces (God being my leader) undoubtedly such service might 
have been done with so little charge, that the king's highness should 
have been therewith pleased and well contented. But as it chanced, 
with such company as I then had of my own, with the good assistance 
of Stephen Appany, captain of 100 spears, I rode forth to Youghal, 
Cork, and Limerick, and had, of the young pretended earl of Des- 
mond, such reasonable offers at his coming in, that I suppose these 
many days the lords and captains of that country were not so testable 
to good order, like as more amply appeareth in my former letters. 
Sir, of truth, the lord deputy* minding to have his service and proceed- 
ings the better advanced, and blowen out by the report of my lords, 
my father and me, instantly desired us to put our hands to a letter 
(devised by himself) in his recommendation [commendation] ; which 
letter, I suppose, is sent forth by him unto the king's grace. And 
albeit, my lord, my father's service or mine was never much com- 
mended by his advertisement, yet partly of courtesy, and also trusting 
he would then with better will have lent me one of the said battering 
pieces, I put to my hand, and so did my lord, my father, at his return 
from Waterford, trusting also to have had the said piece to serve 
against the Breenys. I reckon it no great wisdom, nor yet matter of 
honour, where any man procureth another to be his herald. And for 
my part, God and the king knowith my true heart, to whom I humbly 
commit the construction of my poor service. And since there now 
repaireth unto his grace, Sir John Saintlaw, who never spared for 
pain of art and charge to do his grace good service worthy of remun- 
eration, I commit unto his breast the report of my proceedings, and 
shall most heartily desire you to thank him for the loving approved 
kindness I have always found in him towards my lord, my father, and 
me. The king's grace, and he himself, being so pleased, my desire is 
that he may return hither again, since I have at full perceived his 
diligent service to be such, as if he return not, I shall have great lack 
of him, as knowith God who ever preserve you. At Waterford, 1 7 
day of October, 1535. 

" Your assured kinsman, 

(Signed) " JAMES BUTLER." 

(Superscribed.) " To my right honourable cousin, and most loving 
friend, master Cromwell, the king's secretary." 

Lord Butler's patent, by which he was created lord Thurles, had 
not yet passed. But it is remarked in a note on this letter, that 
neither he, nor Grey, or viscount Grane, who were ennobled, or ad- 
vanced at the same time, seem to have assumed their titles " either 
in their signatures, or in the style by which they were addressed."! 

Skeffington. f Note to paper cxl. p. 249. 


In consideration of his many and great services, large grants were 
made to lord Butler in the years 1539 and 1542; of these several 
were manors which had belonged to the earl of Kildare. In 
1539, his father died, and he succeeded to his honours, &c. in the 
same year he was sent against the Connaught insurgents. In 1543, 
he had a commission along with his cousin and Desmond, to make 
levies through Tipperary, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, to take, imprison, or 
protect, according to his judgment and the purposes of his commission. 
Among other commissions, in this busy period of his life, he was sent 
into Scotland in command of the Irish forces sent over to join the 
earl of Lenox, and others, in prosecution of a war which had various 
parties and purposes, but had been promoted and joined by king 
Henry for views of his own in the year before when he had a con- 
siderable force at his disposal. In this year the invasion languished, 
and the English and Irish were withdrawn without having effected 
any important service. On this occasion, lord Butler, then ninth earl 
of Ormonde, is mentioned to have levied 1500 of his own followers 
being a number equal to that levied by the deputy, St Leger, for the 

In 1546, this illustrious nobleman was lost to his time and country 
in the flower of his age. Having publicly accused the deputy, St 
Leger, of high treason, the deputy retorted the charge, and both were 
summoned to England. While residing there he was poisoned, with 
several of his servants, at Ely house in Holborn. The entertainment 
is said, by Ware, to have been given him by his own people the poison 
was, in all probability, accidental. The number who were poisoned is 
mentioned by Lodge to have been thirty-five ; Ware says, his steward 
and sixteen servants. The earl was buried in the church of St Thomas 
of Acres : but his heart was brought over and buried in the cathedral 
of St Canice, Kilkenny. We add an extract of his will, which has in- 
terest. After the directions concerning his burial, he devises that " My 
sonne and heyre, being in the prince's graces court, shall have my 
basin and ewer, which I have here, a silver pot, a salt, a new boll, a 
trencher, and a spoon of silver. Item, my wife (Joan, daughter to the 
1 1th earl of Desmond), to have my best bracelet of gold sent her for 
a token. Item, to my lord chancellor of England, my new gilded 
goblet with the cover, for a token. Item, master Fitz- William, to have 
a new boll of them that were lately made, for a token, &c., &c." 

He was succeeded by his eldest son, Thomas, viscount Thurles. 


BORN A. D. J532 DIED A. D. 1614. 

IN placing the life of this illustrious Irishman in the present period, 
it becomes necessary to explain a disposition which may otherwise seem 
to be a violation of the arrangement which we have adopted; viz., to 
place our notices according to the death of the persons noticed. We 
should, however, here observe, that this most convenient general rule 
has been, all through the previous portion of our work, subject to 

i. 2 ii Ir. 



another more important, though less definite principle of arrangement. 
We have endeavoured, in all the more extended and strictly histo- 
rical memoirs of contemporary persons, to place them according to the 
order of the events in which they were mainly concerned; as it is 
evident that, by this means, the historical order would be best pre- 
served. Thus our arrangement has been in reality one compounded 
on both these considerations; and, we may observe, adopted more as a 
convenience than as a restriction. In the present instance, as in a few 
more which follow in the close of the period, it will be accordingly 
observed, that although this earl, together with the first earl of Cork, 
&c., continue to live into the reign of James I., yet all the great events 
of their lives fall within the reign of queen Elizabeth, in such a man- 
ner that, were we to place them in our next period, we should have to 
travel back into the history of this a violation of order which would be 
something more than formal. 

The tenth earl of Ormonde was born some time about 1532; and, 
as he was thus but fourteen years old in 1546 the time of his father's 
death great precautions were taken to preserve his property against 
the encroaching and freebooting spirit of the age. For this purpose 
it was ordered that the lord justice should draw the English army, at 
his command, towards the counties of Kilkenny and Tipperary; and 
it was also ordered that the government of these counties should be 
committed to his family. He was himself brought up in the English 
court, and was one of the most favoured companions of tho young 
prince Edward, with whom he was educated. At the age of four- 
teen, he was made a knight of the Bath, at the coronation of this king. 
It is also mentioned that the king ordered the lord deputy to in- 
crease his allowance to the sum of 200 marks.* When he attained 
his nineteenth year, he obtained by the same favour a year's release 
of his wardship. He begun his military career at the same time 
with distinguished honour. It is briefly mentioned, after these inci- 
dents, by the antiquarians, that he accompanied the duke of Somerset 
in his expedition against the Scots. This requires some explana- 
tion; for though the Scottish war alluded to certainly was continued 
in the same year, yet it is as certain that it was not commanded by the 
duke of Somerset, who first declared war, and led an expedition into 
Scotland, in 1547, when Ormonde was but fifteen years of age. In the 
following years, the command of the armies sent against the Scots 
was intrusted to the earls of Shrewsbury and Northampton. But 
military training, at that period, formed so principal a part in edu- 
cation, that there is no improbability in supposing the military career 
of this earl to have commenced even so early. These conjectures are 
confirmed by the mention that he distinguished himself by his bravery 
in the battle of Musselburgh ; better known in history as the battle of 
Pinkey, which took place 10th September, 1547. In this battle the 
Scots were defeated by the English, under the duke of Somerset, with 
the loss of 1 4,000 men, of whom 800 were gentlemen. The war was 
engaged in to compel the Scots to deliver up their young queen, who 
had been contracted to Edward VI. when they were both children. 

* Collins, Lodge. 



He obtained still higher distinction in his twenty-second year, when 
he commanded a troop of horse against the rebels headed by Sir Thomas 
Wyatt. This rebellion is supposed to have been caused by the discon- 
tent of the English at the marriage then on foot between Philip and 
Mary. The chief conspirators were the duke of Suffolk, Sir Thomas 
\Vyatt,and Sir Peter Carew, who agreed with each other to raise their 
several counties of Cornwall, Kent, and Warwickshire. Through the 
indiscretion of Carew, the plot was soon detected. Carew escaped 
into France; the duke was seized before he could stir to any purpose; 
and Wyatt was left to pursue his desperate course alone. Of this 
course we shall only mention the terminating circumstances. 

Wyatt approached London at the head of a force sufficient to cause 
great alarm in the court, and to give him high hopes of success. To 
the queen's messengers, who desired to know his demands, he replied 
that he demanded to have the Tower and the queen delivered into his 
hands, with such changes in the council as he should prescribe. Of 
course these demands were rejected, and Wyatt pursued his march 
toward London. When he had reached the borough of Southwark, 
he found the bridge so well fortified that, contrary to his expectations, 
he could not effect a passage. He was, therefore, obliged to continue 
his march to Kingston, ten miles higher up the river. Here, too, he 
met with another dangerous delay the bridge was broken down, and 
he could not pass without having it first repaired. Having effected 
this, he passed over with his men, now increased to six thousand. He 
then set forward on his march to London; but a gun-carriage having 
broken on his way, he lost more time in repairing it. Two days were 
thus consumed when he reached London, at nine in the morning of 
the 3d February, 1554. The captain of the train bands who had 
joined him deserted, and gave information that it was his plan to enter 
the city by Ludgate. The earl of Pembroke and lord Clinton at first 
came to the resolution to attack him while entering the city, and a 
partial attack took place. 

It was at this period of the affair, that the only occasion occurs in 
which the young earl could have displayed his valour. Hollinshed, 
who gives the detail at greater length than we can afford to follow, 
describes two skirmishes which took place near Hyde Park, and in 
Charing Cross. In the first of these it was mentioned that while 
Wyat was marching on the " nether way," towards St James's, " which 
being perceived by the queen's horsemen, who laie on either side of 
him, they gave a sudden charge, and divided his battel [army, march- 
ing in column] asunder hard behind Wyatt's ensigns, whereby so 
many as were not passed before with Wyatt, were forced to fly back 
towards Brainford." It was in this charge that the young earl must 
have taken part. The body thus separated, after a vain attack on St 
James's, Westminster, attempted to rejoin their leader, and were again 
assailed in Charing Cross, and scattered after a short resistance and 
a loss of twenty men. In the course of this affair, it became apparent 
that he was entangling his army in the streets and lanes which lay on 
his way towards Ludgate, so that it became impossible for his troops 
to extend their front, or in any way act in concert. Sending orders 
to have Ludgate closed, the queen's commanders contented themselves 



. t a < 


with fortifying and placing 1 strong detachments in the streets through 
which he passed, so as to render all retreat impossible. In the mean- 
time, Wyatt went on anticipating no obstruction, and imagining the 
whole of his remaining course sure, until he came to the gate. There 
his entrance was impeded, and he was forced to halt; and it was not 
long before he learned that he was strongly barricaded in on every 
side. His artillery he had in his confidence left under a guard in 
Hyde Park, and was now completely entrapped in the midst of enemies, 
who possessed every advantage they could devise for his extermination. 
In this dreadful emergency he was accidentally met by Sir Maurice 
Barkleie, who was riding unarmed near London, and entered into 
conversation with him. Barkleie advised him to surrender. Wyatt 
saw the necessity; and, resolved to seize on the occasion, he mounted 
behind his adviser, and, so says Hollinshed, rode to the court volun- 
tarily to yield himself prisoner. He was sent to prison; and, after an 
attempt to implicate the princess Elizabeth, which he subsequently 
retracted, he was executed in two months after on Towerhill. 

Thus early distinguished, this earl came over to Ireland, where his 
own affairs demanded his presence, and, having attained his twenty- 
second year, it was time for him to take possession of his estates, and 
assume the place appertaining to his family and rank in the councils 
of his country. He was not long settled in his possessions, before an 
occasion arose for his military spirit to obtain fresh distinction. In 
1556, the province of Ulster was disturbed by a party of Scots, who 
besieged Carrick Fergus; and, although they failed in their design 
upon this town, obtained advantages in different quarters by associat- 
ing themselves with the O'Donells, and other chiefs who in these party 
wars had gathered power, and were beginning to assume a dangerous 
attitude. In July, the lord deputy, Ratcliff, marched against them. 
He was accompanied by Ormonde, who commanded 200 horse, and 
500 foot, raised by himself and maintained at his own cost. On the 
18th of the same month, the lord deputy's army came up with the 
Scots, and a sharp conflict ensued, in which the Scots and the insur- 
gents were defeated with a loss of 200 slain. In this engagement 
the earl of Ormonde and Sir John Stanley have obtained the princi- 
pal honour from all historians by whom this affair is mentioned. The 
three following years were distinguished by great military activity; 
and, through the whole course of the marches and encounters during 
this period, this earl supported the same conspicuous character among 
the foremost in every bold and difficult enterprise. 

These occasions are too numerous and too little detailed by histori- 
cal writers to be here dwelt upon. The uniform distinction of the 
earl through the whole, is amply testified by the strong indications of 
the approbation of the English government. In each year his rise is 
marked by some honourable mark of the royal favour. In 1555, his 
patent was confirmed for the royalties and liberties of Tipperary as 
also his hereditary patent for the prize wines. In 1557, he received 
a grant of the religious houses of Athassil, Jerpoint, Callan, Thurles, 
Carrick, &c., with all their hereditaments in the counties of Tipperary, 
Kilkenny, and Waterford ; the manor of Kilrush in the county of Kil- 
clare, &c., &c., to hold by the service of a single knight's fee, reserving 


a rent of 49 3s. 9d., afterwards remitted by Elizabeth. The subse- 
quent grants which he received from Elizabeth, fill more than a close- 
ly printed page of Collins and Archdall, from which the above are 

Queen Elizabeth, in the first year of her reign, appointed this earl 
lord treasurer of Ireland, a post which he retained through his life. 
There is not a year in the first years of this queen's reign so eventful 
in Ireland, in which he did not bear a distinguished part, which amply 
maintain his claim to the foremost place in the councils and confidence 
of the government. To dwell on the most interesting of these events, 
would hereafter involve us in much repetition, as they form the ma- 
terial for the curious and striking history of the memorable insurgent 
chiefs of this reign, the Desmonds, O'Donell, and Shane O'Niall. But 
through the whole stormy tissue of rebellion, party war, and provincial 
disturbance, which seems in his time to be fast attaining its height of 
violence and frequency ; whether as military commander or diplomatic 
pacificator, the earl's character appears alike eminently bright through 
the obscurity of the time. After being successively appointed to the 
most important offices of trust in every trying and difficult occasion, 
from 1559 to 1578, he was in the latter year made governor of the 
province of Munster, when he brought O'Sullivan More into subjec- 
tion by force of arms, subdued Pierce Grace, Rory Oge, and the Mac- 
Swiney's, and took the earl of Desmond prisoner, with a slaughter of 
four thousand men and forty-six officers. 

In 1581, his honourable career was rewarded by the high office of 
lord high marshall of England. He did not long continue in this ex- 
alted station; but his voluntary resignation is ennobled by the high and 
patriotic motive. He could not reconcile it to his sense of duty to re- 
tain a post of which the arduous and engrossing duties were such as 
imply an entire separation from his own country. He was allowed, 
upon his earnest suit, to resign; and in 1582, he returned with the ap- 
pointment of general of Munster, and a supply of men. He, at the 
same time, obtained an addition of twopence a-day to the pay of soldiers 
employed in the Irish service, and by this means, much increased his 
popularity among the soldiers. 

In Ireland his services were still called into action on each occasion, 
where activity, fidelity, and talent were required ; and many instances 
occur in which these conspicuous qualities of his character are placed 
under requisition by the absence of the deputy, or by some occasion of 
unexpected emergency. In 1596, he was made a knight companion of 
the garter. He was appointed general of Leinster in 1597? when Ty- 
rone's rebellion had assumed a formidable character ; and subsequently 
in the same year, was made general of all her majesty's forces in Ire- 
land. Nor was he long at the head of the military operations, when 
Tyrone applied to obtain a commission to treat with him, which was 
appointed; and a meeting having accordingly taken place at Dun- 
dalk, a truce for eight weeks was agreed upon, for the purpose of set- 
tling the terms of this great rebel's submission, by communication with 
the English government. These particulars we shall hereafter detail. 

In January, 1600, the earl obtained a considerable victory over the 
Bourkes, whom he drove out of Ormonde. Redmond Bourke was forced, 



with many of his men, into the Nore, where they were lost. On the 
following April, he went with the lord president of Munster to hold a 
parley with Owen Mac Rory O'More, who treacherously seized upon 
him ; the lord president Carew escaped hy the swiftness of his horse. 
Ormonde gave hostages for the payment of 3000, in case he should 
seek revenge. 

After this, his conduct was not less distinguished by unremitting 
efficiency in his high station, until the death of the queen. She had 
ever retained the highest regard for him, and professed to consider 
him as her kinsman. King James, on his accession, renewed his 
commission as commander of the Irish army. 

His biographers mention, that a little before this period he had lost 
his sight a fact which, according to the dates of some of the enter- 
prises above mentioned, compared with that assigned for his personal 
misfortune, would seem to imply, that he must, when blind, have con- 
tinued to take the field against the rebels: as the period of about 
fifteen years before his death, assigned as the time of his blindness by 
Collins, Lodge, &c., would make it to have occurred in 1599. He 
died in 1614, in the 82d year of his age, and was buried in the choir 
of St Canice's church, Kilkenny. His monument ccct 400. 



THE chiefs of Beare and Bantry claim the interesting distinc- 
tion which belongs to the most romantic localities in this island, 
the scenes of their ancient crimes and honours. Where the broad 
waves of the Atlantic rush fiercest among the deep and rock -bound bays 
of the wild promontories of Kerry, there stand the ruins of the O'Sul- 
livans' dwellings. Turbulent and warlike, in common with their ancient 
peers, the chiefs and princes of the island, barbarous with the age, they 
were, by the accident of position, more fierce, lawless, and independent, 
than their territorial pretensions would otherwise seem to imply. In the 
harbours of their sterile and isolated domain, the pirate and the smug- 
gler found the surest anchorage, and the readiest mart or storehouse 
for his lawless cargo ; nor did the spirit of the time attach dishonour 
to an alliance which the advance of civilization has converted into 
crime. Still more important was the influence and distinction which 
the O'Sullivans must have acquired from the advantage of possessing 
the main entrance of that communication with Spain, which was actively 
maintained during the 15th and 16th centuries. During these ages 
of turbulence, when enterprise and adventure were among the ordinary 
events of life, many are the wild romances and deep tragedies which 
were realized among those wild and savage sites in which the tyrant's 
fortress and the plunderer's cave were nothing different ; and here, as 
Otway tells us in his book of pictures, we can hardly call them sketches, 
" every man is an O'Sullivan." Bearhaveri and Bantry, and all the 
still wild districts around, are peopled by the same ancient sept, and 


retain the traces of their ancient lords; and many ruins still preserve 
the remembrances of their history. 

The composition by which the castles in the possession of the 
Spaniards were surrendered to the English general, could not fail to 
be highly offensive to the Irish chiefs by whom they had been placed 
in their hands ; but; most of all, to O'Sullivan Beare, whose chief 
castle of Dunboy being among the ceded places, he was thereby, in a 
manner, himself delivered up to the mercy of the English governor. 
He, consequently, resolved to regain it, as he might, before this sur- 
render should occur. Accordingly, in the dead of the night, he caused 
a hole to be made in the wall, through which eighty of his own people 
stole into the castle. Outside he had stationed a strong party, among 
whom are mentioned Archer the Jesuit, the lord of Lixnaw, Donell 
M'Carthy, captain Tyrrel, &c., with 1000 men. All the while, O'Sul- 
livan himself, who lodged within the castle, was quietly sleeping in his 
bed. Early in the morning the Spanish commander discovered how 
he was circumstanced; but, by the intervention of Archer, who led 
him to O'Sullivan, he was prevented from making the resistance he 
could yet have easily made. They had some difficulty in restraining 
the Spanish soldiery, who slew three men before they could be pacified ; 
but order was soon restored, and O'Sullivan took the command of 
Dunboy castle. Having disarmed the Spaniards, and sent off the 
common men to Baltimore to be shipped for Spain, he took possession 
of their ordnance and stores, and sent a letter to the king of Spain 
excusing his violent seizure of the castle, professing his intention to 
retain it for the use of the king, and adding, " not only my castle and 
haven, called Bearhaven, but also my wife, my children, my country, lord- 
ships, and all my possessions for ever, to be disposed of at your plea- 
sure." He then, in very strong terms, complains of the injustice of 
Don Juan's conduct, in having surrendered by treaty his castle of 
Dunboy, which he describes " the only key of mine inheritance, where- 
upon the living of many thousand persons doth rest that live some 
twenty leagues upon the sea-coast." Among other things, in this epistle 
we learn, that with the letter O'Sullivan sent his son, a child of five 
years old, as a pledge for the performance of his promises. This 
letter, with others from the same chief, were intercepted between Kin- 
sale and Cork.* In another letter of the same packet and date to the 
" earl of Carracena," there occurs a brief version of the above transac- 
tion, in which he says, that although the Spaniards killed three of his 
best gentlemen, that he would not suffer them to be molested, but, " with- 
out harm, forced them out of my said castle, saving their captain, with 
five or six, unto whom I have allowed certain roomes in my house to 
look to the king's munition and artillerie;" he then urges speedy re- 
lief, or else a small ship to be sent to carry away himself and his family 
into Spain. In another letter, deprecating the ruin of his own family, 
he describes them, " whose ancestors maintained the credit and calling 
of great gentlemen these two thousand and six hundred years, sithence 
their first coming out of Spaine." 

To maintain this deed and those pretensions, O'Sullivan made active 

* Pac. Hiber. 



and energetic preparations; but his main depend acce was upon tLe 
hired bands of Tyrrel and Burke. 

On hearing of this obstacle to the fulfilment of his treaty with the 
lord-deputy, Don Juan immediately volunteered to reduce Dunboy, 
but the offer was civilly declined ; and instructions were given to the 
earl of Thomond to assemble an army and dra'w towards the place. 
He was instructed to burn the country of Carbery, Beare, and Bantry ; 
to protect the chiefs who had submitted; to take a view of the castle; 
to relieve captain Flower, who was in these districts with a small 
party, and to make other usual preparations for the attack of Dunboy. 
The earl of Thomond marched to the abbey of Bantry, where he 
gained intelligence that Daniel O'Sullivan was engaged in strengthen- 
ing his works at Dunboy, and that Tyrrel had so judiciously placed 
himself among the mountains, that he could not with his present force 
attempt to pass farther. On this the earl of Thomond left his troops 
with captain Flower, the lord Barry, and other eminent officers, in the 
Isle of Whiddy, and went to Cork, to give an account to Sir G. Carew 
of the position of the enemy. Carew decided on instantly assembling 
all the force within his reach and marching into Kerry. 

The expedition was attended with great peril, both from the nature 
of the country, and the strength of a fortress which was thought to be 
impregnable; and Sir George Carew's friends and counsellors strongly 
dissuaded him from an attempt unlikely to succeed, and of which the 
failure would be injurious to the English cause, and hazardous to him- 
self. Such fears had no place in the heart of the brave Carew, whose 
courage was not inferior to his prudence, or his military genius to 
either. To the strong dissuasion of those friends who described to 
him the tremendous obstacles and perils of the march, he replied, 
" That neither bays nor rocks should forbid tfie draught of the cannon: 
the one he would make passable by faggots and timber the other he 
would break and smooth with pioneers' tools." On the 20th April, 
1602, he drew out his army from Cork, amounting to 1500 men, and 
began his march, and in seven days came to Carew castle, anciently 
built by his ancestors, at a place now well known to the visitor of 
Glengariffe under the name of Dunemarc. He was joined by cap- 
tain Flower, who had been stationed in the vicinity by the earl of 
Thomond. Here the army continued for some time with an occasional 
skirmish ; they also contrived to collect considerable spoil in cows, 
sheep, and horses. Fifty cows were brought into the camp by Owen 
O'Sullivan, son to Sir Owen O'Sullivan, who continued faithful to the 
queen's government. 

Sir G. Carew, hearing that the Spanish artillerymen were yet in 
Dunboy, wrote them a letter in Spanish desiring them to come out ; 
it was delivered by means of Owen O'Sullivan, but had not the desired 
effect. During this time Sir Charles Wilmot, who had been made 
governor of Kerry, had performed many important services, seizing 
on several castles in the country, and obtaining the victory in three or 
four small battles. He was now sent for to join the president. 

On the 1 4th of May a consultation was held to consider the best 
means of bringing the army to Bearhaven; and, as the difficulties of the 
way were fully described to the lord-president by Owen O'Sullivau 


and other Kerry gentlemen, it was decided to transport the army across 
the arm of the sea which lay between, to Bear Island, on the other 
side of which, on the opposite shore, stood the castle of Dunboy. But, 
from the roughness of the weather, it was not till the last day of May 
the army could be moved from Carew castle. The sick were then 
placed with a strong guard in the Island of Whiddy; and on the first 
and second of June the army crossed Bantry bay. 

On the 4th, the castle of Dunmanus was surprized by Owen O'Sul- 
livan ; and on the next day intelligence reached the camp that a Spanish 
vessel had put into the bay of Camnara, near Ardee. The rebel party 
seem at this period to have conceived the notion that the English 
might be discouraged by the dangers and difficulties of their under- 
taking. Richard MacGeoghegan, constable of the fort, was sent to 
obtain a parley with the earl of Thomond, to whom he pretended 
great affection, and warned him of the dangers to which he was about 
to be exposed by the useless attack of so strong a place. He advised 
him not to risk his valuable life by landing on the main land, " For 1 
know," he said, " that you must land at yonder sandy bay, where be- 
fore your coming the place will be so trenched and gabioned as you 
must runne upon assured death." 

Such, in fact, was the contrivance and expectation of the rebels. A 
low sandy beach presented the only obvious point at which an enemy's 
attempt might be expected, and it was strongly defended in the manner 
described by MacGeoghegan. But the circumspection of Carew over- 
reached the tactics of his antagonists. He first contrived, with a small 
party, to get possession of a little island close to the sandy bay; on 
this he placed a couple of falconets and landed two regiments, so as 
to lead the enemy to believe that from that position he intended to 
attack their works and effect a landing on the beach. But, in the mean 
time, moving about in a small pinnace, Carew discovered a very conve- 
nient landing-place on the main land, which was concealed from the 
Irish party by a small eminence, and, though within a few hundred 
yards, separated from them by a deep rocky cleft which reached in for 
half a mile. Having made this observation r, few hours before, he 
was enabled to conduct the operation in a most unsuspicious manner. 
While his men on the lesser island were making all preparations for 
an attack, and the whole attention of O'Sullivan's party on the shore 
was engrossed by watchful and anxious expectation, Carew stood on the 
further side of the island to direct his own captains, who were sailing 
up for the purpose of effecting a landing. To these he pointed out the 
unsuspected and unguarded spot, and the vessels again stood out from 
the bay, and, tacking short, reached it without notice, and landed their 
troops to the amount of two regiments under Sir C. Wilmot and Sir 
Richard Percy. When Carew saw that they were disembarked, he 
immediately ordered his own regiment and the earl of Thomond's into 
their boats, and they were all quickly under sail and out toward the 
same spot. This could not of course escape the notice of the enemy, 
who watched with all their eyes ; and the nature of the movement was 
t at once conjectured. Away they all rushed at their utmost speed; but 
they had a long circuit to perform, and before they could be half round 
the cleft, the lord-president with his whole party were landed and drawn 


1 ~ 

up to meet them on good firm ground. A skirmish not worth detail 
was the result, and the Irish party were put to flight. 

About two hours after this incident, the Irish received the cheer- 
ing intelligence of the Spanish vessel, already mentioned, having 
landed in Ardee ; and as the lord-president was afterwards in- 
formed by some of those who were then among the Irish, the ac- 
count confirmed their courage, at a moment when they were beginning 
to waver. At Ardee, the ammunition and treasure were delivered to 
O'Sullivan Beare himself, who forwarded a supply of ammunition to 
Dunboy. The treasure amounted to 12,000, and was sent in shares 
to different Irish chiefs, 1500 being the share of O'Sullivan Beare; 
some letters from Ardee also were sent to different persons. One of 
these from the Jesuit Archer to Dominick Colling, a friar in Dunboy, 
is worthy of notice. 

Letter from James Archer, Jesuit, to Dominick Collins, Jesuit, 
at Dunboy. 

" Your letters of Thursday last came to our hands, but our dis- 
agreeing in some matters, makes to bee slacke in performing your 
desire, yet you must take better order for the premises ; in the meane 
while, however becomes of our delayes or insufficiencies, bee yee of 
heroical minds, (for of such consequence is the keeping of that castle, 
that every one there shall surpasse in deserts any of us here ; and for 
noble valiant souldiers shall passe immortall throughout all ages to 
come;) for the better encouraging, let these words be read in their 
hearing: out of Spaine we are in a vehement expectation, and for 
powder, lead, and money, furnished. Now to come to more particular 
matters; understand, that there are but two wayes to attempt you, 
that is scaling with ladders, or battery: for scaling, I doubt not but 
your owne wits neede no direction ; and for battery, you may make up 
the breach by night. The higher you rayse your workes, every way 
the better, but let it bee thick and substantiall : raise of a greater 
height that worke captaine Tirrell made, betwixt the house and the 
Cornell, make plaine the broken house on the south side: for fire 
work direction doe this, prime the holes and stop in the balls, with 
powder mixt through the materiall well, and some powder that shall take 
fire; the rest you know, as you have heard me declare there. By all 
meanes possible send me one ball, and the rest of the saltpeeter. This 
is in haste till better leasure. Campe this Thursday. 

" Your loving Cousen, 


" To Father Dominicke Collins, these in haste" 

The following letter is also valuable for the distinct view it will 
give the reader of the operations which the writer describes : 

A letter from John Anias, to Dominick Collins, Jesuit, at Dunboy. 

" Be carefull of your fortifying continually; with a most special] 
care rayse in height the west side of your port ; fill your chambers on 
the south and north side with hides and earth ; what battery is made 

* Pacata Hib. 



suddenly repayre it like valiant souldiers; make plaine in the south 
side the remnant of the broken houses; make wayes out of the hall to 
scowes and cast stones upon the port, and if the enemy would attempt 
the like, dig 1 deepe that place wee first begun, and a trench above to 
defend the same, as I have sayd unto you. Although wee expect 
speedie reliefe out of Spaine, yet bee you wise to preserve the store of 
victualls discreetly. Devise yourselves all the invention possible to 
hold out this siege, which is the greatest honour in this kingdome. 
With the next I shall prepare shoes for you; send me the cord as 
long 1 line, add the rest of the saltpeter, withall the yron borriers, seven 
peeces in all. Salute in my name Richard Magoghegane, praying 
God to have of his speciall grace that care of your successe. From 
the campe, the of June, 1602. 

" Your loving Couseu, 

" To Father Dominick, Seerehaven, these.'' 

This John Anias was very soon after taken prisoner by John Berry, 
the constable of Castlemagne, and condemned to die by the sentence 
of court-martial. While under sentence of death, he wrote the fol- 
lowing characteristic letter to the baron of Lisnaw: 

A letter from John Anias to the Baron of Lisnaw, a little before 
his execution. 

" In trust is treason ; so Wlngfield betrayed me. My death satisfies 
former suspicions, and gives occasion hereafter to remember mee; 
and as ever I aspire to immortallize my name upon the earth, so I 
would request you by vertue of that ardent affection I had toward you 
in my life, you would honour my death, in making mention of my 
name in the register of your countray. Let not my servant Cormack 
want, as a faithfull servant unto me; let my funerall and service of 
the Catholique church bee observed for the soule. Heere I send you 
the passe and letter of that faithlesse Wingfield, having charged the 
bearer upon his dutie to God, to deliver this into your hands. O'Sulli- 
van was strange to mee, but inures himselfe to want mee. Commend 
mee to captaine Tirrell, O'Connor, your sister Gerode Oge. This 
the night before my execution, the eighth day of November, 1602, 
and upon this sudden I cannot write largely, 

" jYour loving bedfellow, 
" Sometimes, 


The next day after the landing, Carew having led out the army to 
a narrow isthmus within a mile of the castle, stole out of the camp 
shortly after to view the ground in its immediate vicinity. Proceed- 
ing on horseback with Sir C. Wilmot, until they approached within 
small shot of the castle, they were soon discovered and saluted with a 
few discharges from the soldiers upon the walls; but with the excep- 
tion of Sir Charles' horse which was wounded in the foot, they suffered 
no injury. Within " twelve score" of the castle, an unsuspected posi- 

* Pacata Hib. t Ibid. 



tion, most curiously adapted for their purpose, was discovered by 
the prompt perception and military eye of Carew. A slight rise in 
the ground concealed the spot from the castle, but was not high 
enough to interrupt the range of a small platform among the rocks, 
which seemed to have been cut out by the hand of nature for a battery. 
Neither the owner of the castle, nor one of his countrymen in the 
English camp, were aware of the treacherous recess which had so long 
awaited the guns of an enemy to render it fatal. When the lord- 
president returned to his officers and explained his design to plant a 
battery among the rocks on the other side of the castle, Owen 
O'Sullivan and other Irish gentlemen insisted that it would be impos- 
sible to find space among the rocks for cannon to be placed so as to 
command the castle. Carew assured them that he would plant his 
battery without the loss of a man, and in seven days make himself 
master of the place. In the castle, no apprehension was entertained 
of their danger; they attempted to annoy the army by a cannonade, 
but their balls fell near or in the camp without force to do any 

The castle of Dunboy was a square pile of building enclosed with a 
strong wall sixteen feet in height, and faced with turf, faggots, and 
pieces of timber to the thickness of twenty-four feet. A low platform 
was sunk on the point from which any attack was considered likely to 
be made; and the entire skill of its defenders was exhausted in fore- 
seeing and providing against every possible danger. Their knowledge 
was nevertheless but rude, and all these precautions were neutralized 
by the oversights they committed, the disadvantages of the structure 
they had to defend, and the rapid judgment of Carew. 

Several days elapsed before the president could bring his plan into 
effect. The landing of the cannon was found to be an operation of 
great difficulty. The only landing-place which had the necessary 
advantages of being near the projected position, and accessible without 
the risk of interruption, was upon examination found to present in- 
surmountable obstacles to the conveyance of the guns, as the way was 
broken by marshy and rocky passages. There was another still more 
convenient spot, but to reach it, a narrow creek close to the castle 
walls was to be entered ; and this at last was resolved on. The mouth 
of this creek was within forty yards of the castle, and Carew there- 
fore sent in the greater part of his stores and lesser ordnance in 
boats, which stole in undiscovered in the dead hours of a dark night ; 
but their boats were unequal to the weight of the cannon and culve- 
rins, and no one " durst adventure in the hoy to carry them by night."* 
To meet this difficulty, captain Slingsby volunteered to enter in the 
hoy by daylight, with thirty musqueteers. Disposing these men so 
that with the least possible exposure they could when required keep 
up a fire upon the castle gunners, captain Slingsby took advantage of 
a very favourable breeze, and the castle only succeeded in making two 
discharges upon him before he swept full sail into the creek, when he 
was instantly out of range of its guns. 

While these operations were in progress, other important points 

* Pacata Hib. 



were also carried; the Irish had fortified the little island of the 
Dorsies, with three pieces of Spanish artillery, and forty chosen men. 
Carew, considering that it might easily be taken while the attention 
of the castle was kept in play by his approaches, then fairly in progress, 
sent Owen O'Sullivan, and captain Bostock, in a pinnace and four 
boats, with a hundred and sixty men to attack the island. They suc- 
ceeded in taking the fort after a smart opposition; there Owen 
O'Sullivan had the fortune to recover his wife, who had been a pri- 
soner 'for the last eight months. The spoil was large, five hundred 
milch cows being taken on the island; the fort they razed to the 

On the same night a bullet from the castle wall entered the circle 
of officers who stood in conference with Carew in the midst of their 
camp, and smashed several bones of captain Slingsby's hand. On 
the following night about midnight, captain Tyrrel gave them an 
alarm, having approached so near as to pour a volley into the camp 
which riddled the tents well, but hurt nobody ; a very slight resistance 
was sufficient to compel this active partizan to retire. Many other 
slight accidents occurred daily, while the gabions, trenches, and plat- 
forms, were in course of execution, until the 16th, when they were 
finished. One of these days, Sir G. Carew was with the earl of 
Thomond and Sir C. Wilmot, taking a ride along the shore, when 
Carew espied one of the artillery-men on the castle wall traversing a 
gun; " this fellow," said the president, " will have a shot at us," as 
he quickly reined in his horse and watched the event. He had scarcely 
spoken the last word, when the gun was fired, and the ball struck the 
earth between him and his companions, who had spurred on, and just 
cleared the spot with their horses' heels, when the earth was thrown 
up about them. Carew, glad to see them safe, told them laughing, 
that if they were as good " cannoneers as they were commanders, 
they would have stood firm as he did," and explained that " the 
gunners ever shoot before a moving mark. " 

At five o'clock in the morning of the 17th, the whole of Carew's 
preparations were made, and his battery began to play. He wasted 
none of his fire on the strong barbican, but ordered the guns to be 
levelled at the castle which stood unprotected at a dangerous height 
above ; and about nine, a south-western tower, the fire from which 
had been very troublesome, came with its falcon, thundering to the 
ground, burying under it many of the garrison, and filling up the in- 
judiciously narrow space of six or seven feet between the castle and 
the outer wall. The English guns were next turned upon the west 
front of the castle, which soon in like manner encumbered the court 
with ruin. The garrison on this sent out an offer of surrender on 
condition; but as they did not discontinue their fire, their proposal 
was not received. 

An assault was then commanded, and its details having been fully 
arranged, the barbican was quickly scaled by the companies appointed, 
who were bravely seconded by the remainder of Carew's and the earl 
of Thomond's regiment, and a long, desperate, and confused fight of 
several hours began, of which no description can give any adequate 
idea. Whenever the hostile parties met hand to hand, the advantage 



lay with the besiegers who were superior both in number and in 
quality; but there was no flinching on the part of the garrison, who 
knowing that they were to receive no quarter, fought with the fury of 
desperation ; and every floor or landing-place, or corner of advantage, 
was the scene of a bloody encounter, or a fierce and fatal siege. Doors 
were barricaded and forced, falcons and culverins, loaded with ball and 
bullet, seized on and discharged by either party ; and every court, pas- 
sage, or rampart, filled with the din, smoke, havoc and uproar of this 
fierce and protracted struggle for victory or life. The south and south- 
west turrets for a little time continued to cannonade each other, until 
the Irish gunner on the former was killed by a shot. The gun being 
disabled, and the English on the opposite turret pouring in an incessant 
and well-directed fire, the Irish were compelled to dislodge; they re- 
treated to the narrow space between the east front and the curtain of 
the barbican which lay within a few fret of it, so that they were for a 
while enabled to make a gallant defence against those repeated charges 
of the English. Here the conflict became long and furious, for the 
place was too narrow for the use of fire-arms ; and it became a fierce trial 
of physical strength and endurance between the two parties. In this, 
the English for a while were exposed to a very severe disadvantage: 
for besides the desperate party who stood at bay before them in the 
narrow space between two enclosing walls, they had to sustain a fierce 
attack from the tower overhead, whose numerous loop-holes and stair- 
case windows looked down upon the strife ; from these shot and large 
stones came pouring so as to kill and wound many. At last, when the 
endurance of the assailants must have begun to give way, a fortunate 
accident gave them a key to this apparently impracticable position. 
A sergeant of captain Slingsby's, by clearing away some rubbish in 
the tower from which the English had been firing immediately pre- 
vious to the attack then going on, discovered a window from which, 
by means of the heap of ruins that filled the narrow court, he saw 
at once that they could command the passage defended by the Irish. 
This important ruin was quickly seized and occupied by the assail- 
ants, who thus charged down from the breach, and soon scattered 
those who had made so long a defence in the narrow passage thus 
laid open. Of these, all fell save eight, who escaping up the breach 
sprang out into the sea, where their hapless fate awaited them from the 
enemy's boats, which were stationed there to let none escape. 

The fight was not yet ended. A party of Irish held a strong vault 
beneath the same tower, and when this was cannonaded from the 
broken wall which slanted down upon it so near that it was battered 
from the mouth of falcon and saker, the garrison (then reduced to 
seventy-seven men,) escaped to the cellars underneath, to which 
the only entrance was a narrow perpendicular stair. This put an end 
to the conflict attack and defence were equally out of the question, 
and it became a trial of a more tranquil but far more dreadful kind 
how long the famine and cold of the dreary dungeons beneath could 
be endured by the unfortunate wretches, who having done all that 
bravery could do, at the end of a bloody day were now reduced to a 
choice of deaths from which humanity must always shrink. They had, 
on discovering the hopelessness of their condition, offered to surrender 


on terms ; but this was sternly rejected, and Dominick Collins alone 
came out and gave himself up. The night passed thus; and early in 
the morning twenty-three more Irish, with two Spanish gunners and 
an Italian, came out. It was not long till a message was sent from 
beneath to inform the lord-president that they had nine barrels 
of powder beneath, with which they would instantly blow up the 
castle, unless he would promise to spare their lives ; Carew refused. 
He therefore ordered a battery to be prepared to fire downward on 
the vaults of the castle, and the bullets soon made their way into the 
crowded cellar ; on this, forty-eight men compelled their captain, 
Taylor, to surrender. On receiving this intimation, several English 
officers descended to receive them: when they reached the cellars, 
captain Power by good fortune caught a sight of MacGeoghegan the 
constable, who lay desperately mangled with mortal wounds, slowlv 
raising himself from the floor ; and having snatched a lighted candle, 
he was dragging himself over to an open barrel of powder. As his 
purpose could not be for a moment doubted, the captain sprung for- 
ward and seized him in his arms, and he was slain by one of the men 
who also had observed the whole. There was no further resistance, 
and Taylor with his men were led prisoners to the camp. In this 
affair the English lost two officers, and many were wounded; of the 
privates, sixty-two were wounded, of whom many died within a few 
days: it was the most desperate defence ever made by the insurgents. 
As it was considered that the castle could not without great delay be 
put again into a defensible condition, the nine barrels of powder which 
had been discovered in the cellars, were employed to blow it up. This 
castle was the most important support of O' Sullivan's power; com- 
manding Bantry bay, which was a source of considerable profit to 
him, both as the best fishery in Ireland, and as a well-frequented port 
for the fishermen of all those nations from whom the chief received a 
small addition to his revenue in the shape of duties. ' 

It was presently ascertained that the capture of Dunboy was a 
decisive blow; as it had the effect of interrupting and terminating the 
formidable preparations which, at the instance of O'Donell, the court 
of Spain had ordered for a fresh invasion. In this island there was 
now remaining but little reliance on any means of resistance, but 
the long-desired and tenaciously-held expectations from Spain; and 
only in proportion as this feeling became weakened by repeated dis- 
appointment, the mind of the country showed any settled indications 
of a disposition to subside. These hopes, though now broken by severe 
disappointment, long indeed continued to delude many of the less 
reflecting and more restless spirits, too barbarous to be taught by the 
evidence of the most disastrous events, and too sanguine for experience 
to cool down. 

Some were indeed impelled by the desperation of their circumstances. 
Among these was O'Sullivan Beare ; he had carried resistance to a 
length which now left him nothing to give up. The stern and un- 
compromising spirit of Carew was too well known to admit of any 
hope that he would relent in favour of one whom it was his policy to 
consider simply as a rebel. The fierce old chief was taught to feel, 
that however desperate might be the hope of resistance, that his life 



or liberty at least, was involved in the dishonour of submission. His 
castles had been taken the stronghold of Dunboy was no more 
Carriganass, his own dwelling on the banks of the river Ouvane, was 
in the hands of the enemy. A happy change might he thought arrive, 
when O'Donell should return with a powerful fleet and army, to draw 
away and to defeat the cruel and powerful foe against which the castles 
and arms of the island seemed as nothing. To these desperate resolu- 
tions, the mountain ramparts of Kerry presented a welcome retreat of 
impregnable strength. In this vast and formidable wilderness of 
rugged defiles and dangerous precipices, the heart of resistance might 
be kept alive for better days; the arms and discipline of the stranger 
would little avail in the dangers and intricacies of the morass and 
hollow ravine; the fatal enginery against which the ancient towers of 
Dunboy Lad been found weak, would make no impression on the un- 
scaleable and firm-built ramparts of the Slievelogher chain. There 
the brave and skilful partizan Tyrrel, still kept together his band of 
hardy mercenaries, every one a chosen man, and by dexterously main- 
taining a central movement among this broad chain of natural fortifi- 
cations, contrived in security to overlook the war in Munster, and to 
be present whenever mischief could be done to the enemy. To join 
this light-heeled warfare, O'Sullivan now retreated; but the heights 
and hiding-places of Slievelogher were of little avail against the 
active pertinacity of Wilmot. This last struggle, without losing any 
thing of the fierceness and inveteracy which it derived from the re- 
spective situation of the parties, acquired new horrors from the manner 
in which it was carried on : the animosity of contention was heightened 
by the romantic and fiery interest of a wild, difficult, and perilous 
pursuit concealment combined with resistance to give defence the 
anxious character of escape and surprize suspense, anxious search, 
and the deepening interest of active pursuit, gave to war the animation 
of the chase. Bdt here, in their native fastnesses, the activity and skill 
of Tyrrel and his bonnoghs were overmatched by the knowledge of the 
English leader and the unflagging bravery of his men: they were com- 
pelled to retreat from post to post along these mountains, at every step 
becoming more weak and destitute of resources, until they were driven 
from their last stand. We forbear entering upon the incidents of this 
mountain war, of which the particulars are too indistinctly related in 
the Pacata Hibernia, and other contemporary records, for the purpose 
of distinct historical detail. The rebels had formed a distinct plan, 
in which O'Sullivan, Tyrrel, M'Carthy, and O'Conor Kerry, had 
their allotted parts. They were first deserted by Tyrrel, who had in 
the course of the operations following the capture of Dunboy, suffered 
one or two very severe reverses, and was deprived of the greater part 
of his provisions and accumulated plunder; so that notwithstanding 
his agreements with O'Sullivan, he suddenly changed his course, and 
leaving behind his sick, with baggage and every thing that could 
retard a hasty march, he drew off" sixty miles in the country of 

Under these circumstances it was, that Wilmot with the lord Barry 
and Sir George Thornton, encamped in Glengariffe, on a small space 
of firm ground, on all sides surrounded with bogs and forests. The 


spot was so narrow that their small party was partly encamped on the 
boggy ground, neither was there another spot so large of tenable 
ground, within five miles, on any side. Nevertheless, within two miles, 
O' Sullivan and William Burke, who like Tyrrel was a captain of 
bonnoghs, were encamped. Here some furious night attacks were 
repelled with little loss, and on the 31st December, Wilmot ordered 
their fastnesses to be beaten up by six hundred men, on which a 
"bitter fight" took place, and continued for six hours.* In this the 
English were repelled; but being reinforced by a small reserve, the 
balance of the fight was restored, and it raged on with great blood- 
shed until night. Many were slain on both sides, but as usual the 
heavy loss of life fell on the Irish. The great advantages under which 
they fought, in reality only served to delude them into the error of an 
imaginary equality, and by keeping up resistance, vastly aggravated their 
loss. By this fight they lost 2000 cows, 6000 sheep, and 1000 garrans, 
which latter we presume to have consisted wholly or chiefly of those 
small ponies which are to be found in Kerry, Wales, and other moun- 
tain regions. 

This event was nearly decisive, it caused many of the chiefs and 
captains of the rebel party to sue for grace. O'Sullivan's last cap- 
tain, William Burke, who had on that day commanded the Irish 
army, made great exertions to stop this defection, but in vain; even 
O'Sullivan appeared disheartened, and Burke himself began to think of 
following on the steps of Tyrrel. Against this O'Sullivan strongly 
protested, appealing to their agreement and the benefits he had con- 
ferred. The mountain bandit (for this best describes him), was fired 
by the remonstrance, he swore the game was over in Kerry, that he had 
lost more valuable men than the treasures of Spain could repay, and 
with violent curses accused himself of folly for having remained so 
long in Munster. He made no further delay, but fled with 200 men 
into O'Carrol's country. O'Sullivan, thus abandoned, was not subdued 
in spirit; but seeming to gather " resolution from despair," he now 
determined to make his way as he might to Ulster, Avhere the fate 
of Tyrone was yet suspended in fearful uncertainty, after a reverse 
which turned his hostile movements into a desperate and wavering 
defence. With O'Conor Kerry, and a small party of those desper- 
adoes, known by the name of bonnoghs, and best conceived as a sort of 
military " spalpeens," they commenced a dangerous retreat along the 
borders of Muskerry. As they went on their way they were attacked 
by Feague Owen M'Carthy, and lost most of their carts and many 
men. A little further on John Barry, brother to viscount Barry, 
made a charge upon them at the ford of Belaghan, with a small party 
of eight horse and forty foot, and with the loss of one man, dealt 
slaughter and confusion among their enfeebled ranks. Again they 
were met on the banks of the Shannon, while they were effecting a 
most difficult passage, by the sheriff of Tipperary, who having received 
an intimation of their approach, was prepared with his posse comitatus 
to resist their passage. Their position was then one of trying emer- 
gency one which might have brought to mind the famous lament of 

* Pacata Hibernm. 
I. 2 I Jr. 


the Britons, when their Saxon invaders were driving them to the sea. 
O'Sullivan and O'Conor with their bold and desperate companions 
felt neither the terror nor the want of resource of these primitive 
savages ; while the din of an irregular pursuit came over the hills upon 
their ears, and the scattered groups of the pursuers appeared at no 
great distance rushing out from woods or crossing the green hills, 
they hastily killed and flayed a number of their horses, and construct- 
ing rude little boats of their skins they managed to escape over the 
flood with much of their baggage. This was not effected without 
some loss, as their embarkation was not entirely complete when the 
sheriff's men came up and slew several. From this, however, they 
were enabled to cross a considerable tract of Connaught without inter- 
ruption, till they reached the coast of Galway, where they were again 
attacked in the O'Kelly's country, by Sir Thomas Burke, brother to 
the earl of Clanricarde, and captain Malby. The attack was con- 
ducted with most unaccountable rashness. O'Conor and O'Sullivan, 
practised in the prompt use of all available positions, occupied a well- 
protected pass, rendered impracticable to assailants by its rocky barrier, 
and covered from their fire by the branching copse which crested the 
low chain of cliffs behind which they lay. Burke and Malby only 
consulting their impetuous valour, and scorning a fugitive enemy which 
had been beaten across the country from post to post, charged fiercely 
into the ravine, and were received by a deadly, deliberate, and unerr- 
ing fire, which was followed by a sudden charge, that left many of the 
brave assailants on the ground. Among these was captain Malby. 
His fall decided the affair. Burke and his people were discouraged 
and fled ; on which O'Sullivan and O'Conor were enabled to pursue 
their way to the desired land of refuge in O'Rourke's country. Their 
victory, an effort of desperation favoured by accident, had no other result. 

In the mean time, O'Sullivan's warders in Kerry, were so pressed 
by Wilmot, and disheartened by the desertion of their lord, that they 
gave up whatever forts and castles yet remained uncaptured. In the 
country of O'Rourke, a district more rude and unexplored than any 
other in Ireland, the last sparks of rebellion maintained their ineffectual 
life, O'Sullivan and O'Rourke being the only persons of any name or 
authority who still held out, and this as the noble writer of the Pacata 
ffibernia observes, more from fear than daring " obstinate only out 
of their diffidence to be safe in any forgiveness."* 

From this we have no very satisfactory account of O'Sullivan Beare. 
But as his name disappears from history, we may assume his death to 
have soon after occurred. 



FLORENCE M'CARTHY'S name is of too frequent recurrence in the 
civil wars of this period to be passed without some notice further than 

* Pacata Hibernia. 


he may have appeared to have received at our hands, in a few pro- 
ceeding memoirs ; but in truth we have little if any thing to add to 
these casual notices. McCarthy's title to notice is more due to station 
and circumstance, than to any personal distinction. We shall as 
briefly as possible offer a summary of all that we find any account of 
in his history. 

When the earl of Tyrone visited Munster to organize the rebellion 
in that quarter, it was at the pressing instance of this Florence 
McCarthy, who had his own interests in view. The M'Carthys of 
Desmond had at the time raised Donald, an illegitimate son of the 
earl of Clancare, to the title of M'Carthy More. Tyrone displaced 
him, and without opposition set up his friend Florence in his room. 
The speciousness of this hollow intriguer had in like manner already 
won him the favour of the English government; and he made use of 
the importance thus obtained to court the favour of the Irish chief. His 
first demonstration was not, it is true, altogether consistent with the 
trimming and shuffling caution for which his subsequent career is so 
remarkable; but he was for a little while imposed upon by appear- 
ances, which were beyond his sagacity to penetrate. The slackness 
and remissness of the English court in providing against the growing 
storm and the increasing power of the Irish insurgents, which was thus 
inadequately opposed, gave a universal impulse to Irish disaffection. 
Nor can the charge be confined to Florence M'Carthy, which seems 
at the time to have amounted to a national characteristic, of taking 
part with the strongest. At the period of Carew's first arrival in 
Munster, all seemed to favour the cause of the insurrection ; and 
M'Carthy, like many others, rushed forward under a press of sail before 
the prosperous wind. 

It was in the latter end of April, that he contrived an ambuscade, at 
a ford between Cork and Kinsale, to intercept a party of English which 
had been detached into Carbery, under captains Flower and Bostock. 
Fortunately the ambush was detected in time, as the English party 
were advancing without the least apprehension of an enemy, scarcely 
in order, and having but a few matches burning, it happened that 
captain Bostock who rode before espied the glancing sunbeam from 
some of the steel morions of the soldiers, who were lurking in the low 
glen towards which he was riding ; he instantly turned back, but 
without any appearance of haste or alarm, and gave the word to the 
soldiers to be ready: the time was not quite sufficient for preparation, 
when the rebels perceiving themselves to be discovered, sprung up 
with a shout from the neighbouring stones and brushwood, and came on 
with great impetuosity. The English were for a few minutes over- 
whelmed, both by the violence of the charge and the numbers of the 
enemy. But the real strength of the steady English was then, as now, 
the firmness of nerve, that resists the impulse of a first disorder, and 
renders them capable of that most difficult of efforts a rally from the 
shock that overpowers resistance. In despite of the surprize, the broken 
rank, and the overbearing torrent of enemies, they stood sternly to 
their arms, and made fight until the impetus of their foes began to waste 
itself away. The skill of their leaders was thus brought into action, 
and the enemy were fairly caught in their own device. Commanding 



lieutenant Lane to lie down in an old ditch behind them, with a strong 
company of musketeers, captain Flower directed a retreat. The 
enemy led by Carbery O'Conor, confidently pressed in their rear, until 
he came on the line of the flank fire from Lane's party, when a volley 
from the ditch arrested their advance, and slew their leader with 
many other officers as well as soldiers. Sudden amazement suspended 
their steps, and while they hesitated the battle was lost. A charge 
from the English horse, at this critical moment, scattered them like 
chaff, and in a moment the party they had been pursuing was in the 
midst of them, slaughtering right and left without resistance: 98 fell 
on the spot, and multitudes went off with mortal wounds. 

M'Carthy, not long after, entered into a treaty with Carew. 
There was at the time a favourable disposition towards him among the 
English lords ; but the president of Munster was still more actuated 
by the state of the country, in his desire to draw M'Carthy from the 
rebels. It was to be apprehended that the English force, which was 
far below the demand of the occasion, must otherwise require to be 
further weakened by the division and extension of its operations which 
a war with this chief would render necessary; nor was the infirmity 
of purpose or the uncertainty of conduct, which soon appeared to 
neutralize his hostility, yet fully understood. A conference was there- 
fore appointed, to which M'Carthy came, was reproved in the severe 
manner of Carew, pardoned, and swore allegiance and future obe- 
dience and duty on his knees. In his account of this scene, the writer 
of the Pacata Hibernia mentions, " These speeches being finished, 
the president bade him to stand up, when as both he and the earl of 
Thomond, Sir Nicholas Welsh, and John Fitz-Edmund, did every one 
of them very feelingly preach obedience to him." After this pretty 
schooling, M'Carthy made an eloquent answer, in which he probably 
showed himself a better orator at least than his advisers, using such 
general terms as to pledge him to nothing, while he delivered himself 
with so much appearance of warmth and good feeling, that even Carew 
could not help thinking him a very loyal man. After a repetition of 
the same comic drama on the following day, he was desired to send 
his eldest son as a pledge. At this critical demand his speciousness 
was a little shaken aside. He pleaded the difficulties in which such a 
pledge must involve him, as he would thus be deprived of the power 
of keeping appearances with Desmond and his own people ; " adding, 
moreover, that it was needless in them to exact any such thing at his 
hands, who was in his soule so wholly addicted and devoted to her 
majestie's service."* These absurd subterfuges were necessarily inef- 
fectual. Other conditions were next proposed by M'Carthy and re- 
jected; and the conference ended in a promise to preserve a strict 
neutrality, and that he would from time to time send intelligence of 
the rebels' proceedings to the president, and " doe him the best under- 
hand service he possibly could." It is needless to observe that such a 
promise, whether sincere or insincere, equally betrays the unprincipled 
character of this unworthy descendant of an illustrious race. With 
this promise Carew was satisfied, for he only desired to keep him 

* Pac. Hib. 


quiet for a time, until the war with Desmond should be brought to an 

Afterwards, when the army of the sugan earl was dispersed and 
himself a fugitive in Kerry, M'Carthy followed the example of others ; 
and having through the war contrived to amuse both parties and keep 
himself out of danger's way, he came to the president's camp, " in the 
midst of his troope, (like the great Turke among his janissaries,) drew 
towards the house like Saul, higher by the head and shoulders than 
any of his followers." He was courteously received by the lord-pre- 
sident, and gave pledges, which he desired to have received for the 
O'Sullivans, the O'Donoghues, the O'Crowlies, and O'Mahon Carbery. 
This was of course rejected; Carew wished to cut the links between 
him and these dependent chiefs, and intended to compel them to put in 
hostages for themselves. 

At this period it was that a violent and deadly feud took place among 
the M'Carthys .of Muskerry and Carbery, in which some leading 
persons were slain. The lord of Muskerry, grieved at the slaughter 
of the O'Learies his followers, applied to the council for leave to make 
war on Carbery; but the application was not acceded to. 

We already have had occasion to exemplify and illustrate the con- 
duct and character of Florence M'Carthy in our memoir of the Sugan 
earl. The correspondence which was intercepted exposes the weakness 
and duplicity of his character by the testimony of his own hand. It 
is therefore unnecessary to glean further the scanty materials before 
us. We have already mentioned his fate ; he was in the end sent a 
captive into England, thus meeting the reward of a course of conduct 
which rendered him an object of distrust. 

We have only to add a remark which has often pressed itself upon 
us in the course of this work. The conduct of every distinguished 
person who figures in the political proceedings of the period of which 
we have been writing, indicates so very loose and defective a system 
of political morality, that when we have been by any chance led to 
take an unfavourable view of any person of illustrious name and 
descent, we have ever done so with some consciousness of a disagreeable 
nature, and an indication to recoil, like fear in Collins' ode, " even 
from the sound itself hath made." We have felt the injustice of 
making any one an unhappy example of the sins of all. The best and 
wisest men who came forward on that tragic stage, seem to have been 
ignorant of the higher principles of truth, honour, and justice, which 
the meanest and basest who seek mob-favour in our own day think 
it essential to swear by. And again, when we look on the practice of 
our own refined age, and see many who are honourable gentlemen, 
and most estimable in every relation of private life, so false, hollow, 
and perjured in their public capacities, we are inclined to the chari- 
table conclusion, that there is something in the game itself which none 
but the very noblest hearts and heads can resist ; and that there is 
some arcanum in state affairs, which causes a temporary transforma- 
tion, so that the same person may be a man of honour in the hall and 
field, while he is a knave malgre soi on the hustings and in the senate. 
We have therefore assuredly no right to affect a stern elevation of 
public principle, when we look back on the ways of persons whom we 



call unenlightened, because they did not play their game as knowingly 
as the gamesters of our own day, who have the wisdom to know that 
they are wrong, and the hardihood to act in defiance of the principles to 
which they pretend. Florence M'Carthy deceived, with all the dignity 
of virtue, because he thought it all fair ; and Sir G. Carew did not 
know much better. The president thought it not amiss to bargain 
with those who sought his favour, to murder one another ; it may be 
said perhaps that he knew his men; but the person who employed 
them for such purposes, must have forgotten the spirit of the proud 
chivalry of England in the very day of Sidney. 

With this weak apology we must take our leave of M'Carthy: he 
lived in an evil day, and defended himself by the only weapon of which 
prudence warranted the use by an Irish chief. And if it can be truly 
asserted that the only alternative was submission, we are inclined to 
suspect that the mind of his own time may rather have applauded his 
persevering spirit, than condemned the hollow manoeuvring by which 
he persevered. Unhappily history, with all its boasted impartiality, 
can hardly try its great delinquents by their peers. We cannot 
guess from their public statements and letters what would Fitz- William 
say what would Perrot say what would Carew say ; but must look 
to their policy and their acts, and with one who knew something of 
men, denounce the great " un whipped of justice." 


DURING the events which we have largely detailed in several of 
our preceding memoirs, there appear occasional glimpses of persons 
whose names have obtained notice in Irish history, but whose part 
in the events of their generation was but sufficient to give them a 
doubtful title to present notice. Among these was Cormack M'Der- 
inond M'Carthy, lord of Muskerry, a branch of the same illustrious 
parent stem from which was also descended the subject of our last pre- 
vious memoir. 

We shall here briefly relate such passages of his life as have suffi- 
cient interest to demand a passing notice. 

Before the lord-deputy Mountjoy marched to the siege of Kinsale, 
orders had been issued by Sir G. Carew, to the cities and towns of 
Munster, to send their contingents of force to join the queen's army ; 
and the Irish chiefs who were at the time understood to be loyally 
affected, were generally apprized that they were expected in like man- 
ner to prove their profession by their actions. Among the chief of 
those who came forward on the occasion, was the lord of Muskerry. 
He was immediately employed by lord Mountjoy to make an attack on 
the Spanish trenches, in order to let them see that the English were sup- 
ported in the war by the principal Irish lords. The Irish made a stout 
assault, but were repelled ; but the lord-deputy was prepared for this, and 
the attack was followed up by one from his own troop of horse, which 
drove the Spaniards from the position which they had begun to entrench. 


Not long after, a near relative of his, Feague M'Cormack M'Carthy, 
with whom he had been for some time at variance on a question of 
property, had been induced to desert from the lord-president's troop ; 
but finding the rebel cause unprosperous, he sought a reconciliation 
by offering information of the private correspondence between the lord 
of Muskerry and the Spaniards. He excused his desertion on the 
ground that it was not " malicious," " but in the hope to recover 
against my cosen M'Dermody, some means to maintain my decayed 
estate, and still likely to be suppressed by his greatness, who will by 
no means give me a portion of land t*> live upon." His excuse was 
considered insufficient by Carew, to whom his letter was addressed, 
and he was given to understand that his reconciliation was only to be 
looked for by some signal service. On which, having sought and obtained 
a safe conduct, he came to the president and gave him information that 
the lord of Muskerry was carrying on a private negotiation with the 
Spaniards ; that he received letters from the king of Spain, and from 
some foreign bishop ; that he had held a secret conference with the 
rebel Owen MacEggan, who had given him 800 ducats, for which he 
had agreed to yield Blarney castle, his chief castle, within two miles 
of Cork, into the hands of the Spanish. The information tallied but 
too well with several other informations and grounds of suspicion. 

The lord-president immediately gave order to the judge of session, 
for the apprehension and commitment to prison of M'Carthy, and at 
the same time sent Sir Charles Wilmot and captain Harvie to obtain 
possession of Blarney castle. This castle is described as being at the 
time one of the strongest in that part of Ireland, as it consisted of four 
piles of building contained within one strong wall of eighteen feet in 
thickness, and built upon a rock, which made it alike proof against the 
mine and battery. The president therefore directed that they should 
proceed by stratagem, and try to gain admission on the pretext of 
buck-hunting in the neighbourhood. But the warders were on their 
guard, and the stratagem failed. 

The prisoner was soon after brought up for trial; and as he pleaded 
his innocence, it was proposed to him to maintain his plea, by giving 
up his castles to be held by the queen, on the condition that they 
should be safely returned when his innocence should be confirmed by 
the failure of the proof against him. M'Carthy consented, and his 
castles of Blarney and Kilcrea were on these conditions placed in the 
lord-president's hands. An army was at the same time sent against 
Macroome, as it lay in the very wildest and most dangerous part of 
Muskerry, and was not likely to be surrendered on the order of 

While these transactions were in their course, the lord-president re- 
ceived secret intimation that contrivances were going on for the escape 
of his prisoner. He likewise was informed, that O'Healy, a servant of 
M'Carthy, was prepared to embark for England, to steal away young 
M'Carthy from the University of Oxford, and take him into Spain. 
O'Healy was allowed to embark, and then suddenly seized, but con- 
trived to throw his letters into the sea, so that nothing against his 
master was thus elicited. The president in the mean time was warned 
by the bishop of Cork, and by Sarsfield, the queen's attorney for 



Minister, who had severally received information of the meditated 
escape; and on each occasion, Haramon, the gaoler of M'Carthy, was 
impressively lectured on the importance of his charge. 

All precautions turned out to be in vain. Two days did not elapse 
when McCarthy's servant, Owen O'Synn, contrived to loosen and break 
the sash of a window that looked out into the street. The night was 
very dark, and few were abroad but those of M'Carthy's own people 
who had been apprized that the attempt was then to be made, and were 
watching for him outside. When all was ready, and the hour was 
judged to be dark and lonely enough for their security, M'Carthy 
stripped off his clothes, which might easily be recognised, and crept 
out of the window into the street. In this moment, an accident had 
nearly disconcerted his attempt: a young woman was passing up the 
street, and seeing a person in his shirt escaping from the prison 
window, she instantly raised a cry of alarm. The keepers within 
leaped up at once, and rushed straight to the prisoner's room, and 
finding it deserted and the window open, they bolted forth and began 
a search along the street and surrounding country ; but the measures 
of the fugitive had been too well contrived, and they returned without 
their errand. 

On the 21st October, 1602, M'Carthy came before the president and 
council, and humbly besought the queen's mercy, acknowledging his 
offences, and only pleading the loyalty of his affections to ward her majesty. 
He was then pardoned in consideration of the severe losses he had sus- 
tained, both by the burning of his castle and the destruction of the 
harvest of Muskerry that autumn by the queen's army and the rebels, 
of which the loss was computed to be 5,000 at the least. 

BORN A. D. 1557. DIED A. D. 1629. 

OP the personal history of this great man little can be satisfactorily 
ascertained; the main events of his life belong to history, and have 
been already detailed under several heads. 

His family was early settled in Ireland. On the death of Robert 
Fitz-Stephen, the kingdom of Cork descended by marriage to the Carews 
and De Courcys.* The Carews were ennobled, and handed down their 
possessions with the dignity of Marquis of Cork till the time of the 
wars of the Hoses in England, when they appear to have abandoned 
their Irish possessions, which were soon usurped by the surrounding 
chiefs, with some inconsiderable exceptions. They built the castles of 
Ardtullagh, Dunkeran, and Dunemarc ; the last of which we find in 
the possession of Sir George Carew, while he commanded the queen's 
army as president of Munster.* Sir George was the son of George 
Carew, dean of Christ's church, Oxford: he was born in 1557, and 
entered a gentleman commoner in Broadgate's Hall in Oxford univer- 
sity, in 1572. His first military services were in Ireland, where he 

* Cox. 


was early promoted, and became one of the council, and master of the 
ordnance. His uncle, Sir Peter Carew, a military officer, slain in 1580 
at the pass of Glendalough, seems to have been the representative in 
Ireland of this ancient family. In 1582 we find him in relations with 
the followers of the chief O'Byrne, who commanded against the English 
on this occasion, showing his early acquaintance with the faithless char- 
acter of the natives, a knowledge which he subsequently turned to 
account in his dealings with them.* In common with most of the 
eminent military characters of his day, he served with distinguished 
honour on the continent, and gained especial notice in the expedition 
against Cadiz. 

In the year 1599, there had been an increased activity on the part 
of the English government. The queen, alarmed by intelligence that 
the king of Spain, with whom she was at war, was preparing for the 
invasion of England, and that an army of 12,000 men was destined for 
Ireland, became seriously and justly alarmed for the safety of the latter. 
Under these impressions she had yielded to the specious persuasions of 
the earl of Essex: and, listening rather to partiality than to sound 
judgment, she sent him over to mismanage the affairs of a nation 
where prudence, caution, moderation, and sound discretion, as well as 
firmness and sagacity, were indispensably required. At the time the 
actual state of the Irish chiefs was this : The earl of Tyrone, who was 
in reality at the head of the insurrection, occupied the north with a 
well-disciplined and appointed army of six thousand men, while O'Donell, 
with an army not inferior in arms and training, was prepared to main- 
tain the war in Connaught. Both were aided by many chiefs, of whom 
some were not much less formidable than themselves; while those who 
opposed them, and took part with the English, were chiefs of far less 
power and influence, who were mostly maintained in their authority 
and possessions by the protection of the government. There was at 
the time a general impression in favour of the insurgents, their cause 
and prospects, which was a main source of their strength. It was 
known to what an extent the Irish soldiery had profited by the lessons 
of their enemies. There was a universal reliance on Spain, and the 
rebellion had assumed a serious character. 

The brief but misguided career of errors which Essex ran soon led 
to a change of administration. 

In the latter end of 1599 Lord Mountjoy was sent over as deputy, 
and Sir George Carew, the subject of this notice, as president of 
Minister, and early in the following year advantages were gained by 
these able commanders which struck misgiving and dismay through 
the hearts of the national leaders. 

While Mountjoy directed the operations in the north, Sir George 
Carew in person engaged in the re-conquest of the south. His mas- 
terly and successful campaign against the Sugan earl, the head of the 
southern Geraldines, has been detailed in the life of this last of the 
Desmonds. f Its termination, with the capture and conviction of the 
earl in May, 1601, left the president with one enemy the less, when 
the great invasion of the Spanish forces, imperfectly carried out, called 

* Page 510. f Page 452. 



him to aid Lord Mountjoy in expelling them from Kinsale, and at same 
time defending themselves from the powerful Irish army under the earl 
of Tyrone. The manner in which this was done is detailed in the life 
of that great rebel.* 

After the capitulation of the Spanish general, Sir George Carew had 
to deal with the chief of the O'Sullivans, whose strong castle of Dunboy, 
having been garrisoned by them, was ceded with the other places, was 
resolved to regain it, and succeeding by stratagem, broke out into re- 
bellion. The reduction of this stronghold, under circumstances the 
most discouraging and perilous, was the most remarkable event in this 
eventful period, and is fully narrated in the memoir of that chief.f 
This was the closing event in the great rebellion of Tyrone, who there- 
upon made an entire and humble submission. 

After these memorable achievements Sir George Carew returned 
to England, where in the first year of King James, he was appointed 
to the government of Guernsey, and two years after, raised to the 
peerage by the title of Baron Carew of Clopton, near Stratford-upon- 
Avon in Warwickshire. He was next preferred to the high post of 
master of the ordnance in England, and appointed one of the privy 
council. He was afterwards created earl of Totnes by Charles I.,| 
His subsequent life was chiefly employed in writing the history of 
those events of which, in the earlier period, he had been the witness 
or principal actor. Among these writings, the most important and the 
best known is the " Pacata Hibernia," which gives the most full and 
minute detail of the Munster and Ulster wars above mentioned. To 
this work we have been chiefly indebted for our details of these trans- 
actions. It is mentioned by Bishop Nicholson, that he wrote other 
works on the affairs of Ireland, " whereof forty-two volumes are in the 
archbishop of Canterbury's library at Lambeth, and four volumes more 
of collections, from the originals in the Cotton library ." 

These, with several other MS. volumes, all of which were read 
through and noted by Archbishop Usher, exhibit in a very strong and 
interesting point of view, the intellectual activity and untiring energy 
and industry of this extraordinary man. A folio edition of the Pacata 
Hibernia, published in 1633, contained his picture, under which these 
lines were written: 

"Talis erat vultu, sed lingua, mente mamique 
Qualis erat, qui vult dicere, scripta Icgat 
Consulat aut famam, qui lingua, mente, manuque 
Vincere hunc, famajudice, rarus erat." 

Sir George Carew died in 1629, " in the Savoy ,"|| and left no heir 
male. His only daughter married Sir Allen Apsley. ^ 

* Page 511. f Page 435. J Nicholson's Irish Hist. Library. 

Page 53. ]| Nicholson. If Walpole's Letters. Note, vol. i. p. 157. 



SLAIN A. D. 1597. 

AMONGST the multitude of lesser chiefs who may be said to have 
taken part in the tumultuous proceedings of Ireland in the 16th cen- 
tury, we can select but a few. Of these Feagh MacHugh is entitled 
to notice, by reason of he persevering energy which gives prominence 
to his character the territorial position which rendered his motions 
important to the inhabitants of Dublin and the surrounding lands of 
the English pale, but most of all for the dark interest which connects 
itself with the memory of one event; to which, the rest being compara- 
tively of little interest, we shall pass as briefly as we can. 

The country of the O'Byrnes, in an ancient map, lately published by 
the State Paper Committee, is marked in that part of the county of Wick- 
low, east of the river Avon, which runs from Lough-Dan to Arklow. 
The O'Byrnes and O'Tooles, always mentioned together as belonging 
to the same sept, occupied this region of the Wicklow mountains. 
Spenser, who collected his account from the people themselves, and 
improved his knowledge by extensive study of such documents as were 
to be then had, affirms their descent from the ancient Britons, and 
observes that this descent is evidenced by their names, as Brin signi- 
fies woody, and Tool hilly, in the ancient British. It is not improba- 
ble, that a hardy race had, at an early period, when driven from 
their native woods in Britain, taken possession of a district which, 
considering its coldness, dampness, and barrenness, was little likely to 
be disputed with them. Amid this wild district, these septs spread and 
built many castles, of which the ruins were abundant in the 1 6th cen- 
tury. They were subjects to the MacMurroughs ; but after the Eng- 
lish settlement, when by the subjection of Leinster to the English, 
they were set free from the strong control of the paramount lord, thev 
began by degrees to assume independence, and to make themselves 
very conspicuous by inroads to which their near propinquity to the 
pale, and the difficulty of access into their steep and marshy fast- 
nesses, rendered resistance or retaliation difficult and dangerous. 

Spenser mentions, we should presume on the authority of the Byrnes 
of MacHugh's own time, that Shane MacTirlogh, the grandfather 
of Feagh MacHugh, " was a man of meanest regard among them 
[the O'Byrnes] neither having wealth nor power! But his father, 
Hugh Mac Shane, first began to lift up his head, and through the 
strength and great fastness of Glanmalur, which adjoineth to his 
house of Ballinacor, drew unto him many thieves and outlaws, which 
flew unto the succour of that glen as to a sanctuary, and brought unto 
him part of the spoil of all the country, through which he grew strong, 
and in short space got unto himself a great name, thereby, among the 
Irish."* Such is the account given by Spenser; and, if there is any 
strength in the testimony of position, this account is well attested by 
the rude and cliffy chains of steep hills which run parallel to each other 

* Spenser's View. 



at a quarter of a mile distance along the narrow vale, through which 
the Avon runs in a south-easterly direction towards Ballinacor. It 
was one of the three passes by which the surrounding mountain- 
country could be entered ; and was, so late as the rebellion of 1 798, a 
formidable pass, and the scene of many bloody deeds, when a military 
road was made through the glen, and a barrack built at Drumgoff. 

In this well-known fastness of rebellion, Byrne held a position of 
power which, in the great struggle then fast rising to its height, 
gave him personal importance among the surrounding opponents of the 
English. The Kavanaghs, the O'Mores, and the Butlers, swelled 
his wealth and force, and drew protection from his mountains and 
ramparts and forest coverts. Some miles north, near Annamoe, 
and a little to the east of Glendalough, stood castle Kevin, the strong- 
hold of the chief of his allied and kindred clan the O'Tooles. 

From this place of strength, Feagh MacHugh made himself so 
formidable to the English governor, that it became at length an object 
of urgent necessity to expel him, and obtain possession of a place of 
such importance to the security of the pale. 

In the year 1580, lord Grey de Wilton was sent over with instruc- 
tions such as were not uncalled-for by the state of the country. In 
England there prevailed the utmost ignorance of the real difficulties 
which prolonged an interminable strife between foes whose utter dis- 
parity in all by which civilized nations are accustomed to estimate 
power, made the unsatisfactory and uncertain war seem quite unac- 
countable. In their ignorance of the real character of this warfare, 
conjecture but too often supplied accusations against the deputies 
and lords-lieutenant, whose seeming remissuess allowed a barbarous, 
untrained, and almost naked enemy, to keep the field against a British 
army. Thus lord Grey was ignorant alike of the affairs of the country, 
and of the difficulties he should have to encounter. Looking no further 
than the prepossessions and prejudices of the English court, and rudely 
estimating the defensive resources of the Irish chiefs by the known 
inferiority of their armies in the field, he could conceive no reason 
for the failure of the queen's former deputies in reducing the country 
to tranquillity, but the absence of a sufficient promptness and deter- 
mination to sweep all opposition from the field by force of arms. 
Thinking too lowly of the claims of the Irish chiefs to consideration, 
and neglecting to consider that amongst the causes of their disaffection, 
there were some just grounds of complaint, and many wise reasons for 
tempering force (for this was still the main desideratum) with con- 
ciliatory moderation, he resolved to bear down all resistance by unhesi- 
tating and unrepressed exertions of military strength. An occasion 
but too soon occurred to let him into the secret of Irish resistance. 
Shortly after his landing in Dublin, he received intelligence that 
captain Fitz-Gerald, an officer of a company in the queen's pay, had 
revolted with lord Baltinglas, and joined Feagh MacHugh, and that 
they were encamped within twenty-five miles of Dublin, and daily 
increasing in numbers. Grey was naturally enough indignant that 
the power of queen Elizabeth should be held in defiance within so 
short a distance of the seat of government ; and, without delay, ordered 
off such forces as could be brought together to attack them. The 


veterans who received these orders were fully aware of the dangerous 
and difficult nature of the service on which they were sent. They knew 
that the enemy they were peremptorily commanded to rout, was 
secure in the same impenetrable fastnesses which had already for 
nearly 400 years enabled them to hang over the pale like a thunder 
cloud, ever ready to scatter waste and devastation from its unassail- 
able position and desultory explosion; and that to encounter a strong 
force, in positions so peculiarly framed for their mode both of attack 
and retreat, and so unsuited to the tactics of the English, must be 
attended with the utmost risk. When they arrived at the pass into the 
valley of Glendalough, the danger became more apparent; and here it 
is said that captain Cosby, a veteran officer of considerable experience 
in the wars of Ireland, remonstrated with lord Grey. The remon- 
strance must appear to have been needless to any one who is aware of 
the nature of the ground. A long, winding, and deep marsh termi- 
nating in lakes, and thickly masked with copse and stunted forest, which 
has since disappeared, ran between two ranges of wild precipitous 
mountains, which overhung it with their projecting sides, or here and 
there retreated in secret and shaded outlets, so as to present the most 
complete model of an ambuscade contrived by nature. In this position, 
which a little military knowledge might have seen to be inaccessible, 
an invisible enemy was prepared to receive them. Cosby's remon- 
strance was disregarded ; and it now seems like infatuation that no pre- 
caution appears to have been taken to ascertain the position of the 
enemy, or the securest mode and points of attack. Lord Grey 
stood on a neighbouring height, and ordered his troops to march 
into the valley ; and it is nearly certain, that the leaders and 
foremost companies of that gallant and devoted band, as they enter- 
ed the still and ominous hollows of the swampy vale, knew that they 
were not to return. All was for some time still; and lord Grey, 
from the hill on which he stood, saw his veterans tread on un- 
obstructed into the dangerous maze: he probably thought that the 
enemy whom he held in ignorant contempt, had sculked away from 
the approach of the queen's representative and his army. His error 
was not of long duration ; scarcely was the last of the English column 
secure within the fatal defile, when wood, and craggy cavern, and all 
the dark steeps above its marshy and tangled hollows echoed with a 
yell of deadly defiance. It was followed by the roar of musketry, 
which poured thick, incessant, and unreturned from the enclosing 
heights on every side. There was no battle, for there was no resist- 
ance. Every thicket, and each projecting steep, as the devoted victims 
of Grey's precipitation came within its range, sent forth its vollied 
thunder, and poured its deadly shower upon the defenceless victims. 
Discipline and valour were impotent, and retreat as dangerous as 
advance. Some, desiring at least to grapple with a foe, attempted to 
rush up the steeps : these, however, were only pervious to an accurate 
local experience: they who thus attempted, soon came to some fatal 
stop, and were butchered in detail. Others became more deeply 
entangled in the morass, and presented sure marks for the ambushed 
foe, who took them down with cool deliberation from the nearest 
heights. Lord Grey perceived his error when it was too late; his 


men could not be extricated from a position so fatal ; the soldiers were 
slain in heaps as their efforts, either to find an enemy or to effect their 
escape, chanced to throw them into parties. The most active of the 
officers fell in the vain attempt to extricate their men. Captains 
Dudley, Moore, and Sir Peter Carew, were among the slain. 

The next noticeable trace we find of Feagh MacHugh occurs 
about two years later. The tale is curious enough, but not very dis- 
tinct. It is first mentioned that one of the Byrnes offered captain 
George Carew to bring him the head of his leader Fitz-Gerald, already 
mentioned as an ally of MacHugh's. Before Byrne could effect his 
traitorous purpose, he was himself hanged by Fitz-Gerald, who received 
some intimation of what was going on ; but immediately after, alarm- 
ed at the summary justice he had executed, or as we should suspect, 
himself tempted by some report of the reward to be received by his 
own murderer, he made overtures to Carew, for the delivery of the 
much more valuable head of Feagh MacHugh, He was, however, 
caught in the same trap with Byrne; Feagh was informed of the 
intended favour, and hanged Fitz-Gerald ; or as Cox tells the story, 
"fairly hanged his friend Fitz-Gerald in his stead." 

In 1584, he seems to have found the expediency of entering into 
amicable terms with the government, or was led by the wise and 
equitable character of Sir John Perrot, and the general tranquillity 
which made its transient appearance, to deliver pledges for his conduct. 
During the following ten years he is not very distinctly to be traced ; 
but it is quite sufficiently apparent, that he continued through that 
interval to be as troublesome to the inhabitants of the Wicklow side 
of the pale as his force and safety admitted. In 1594, we read of an 
order of council ordering the lord-deputy on some important service, 
in which a provision is made for the defence of the pale against Feagh 
MacHugh, during his absence. At this time the Irish rebellions, for a 
time partially extinguished, had begun to increase, and assume a charac- 
ter of method, concert, and military discipline, till then unknown. 
The celebrated Red Hugh O'Donell, whom a few years before O'Byrne 
had succoured in his flight from Dublin castle, and entertained at his 
castle of Ballinacor, was sweeping like a torrent over the western 
counties; and the emissaries of Spain and Rome were with secret 
influence awakening and combining the scattered fires that were so 
soon to burst forth under the command of that able and powerful 
leader, Hugh, earl of Tyrone. In the beginning of 1595, the lord- 
deputy entered MacHugh's own territory, and, driving him and his 
people into the Glenmalur, took possession of Ballinacor, in which 
he placed a garrison. In the same year Feagh came into Dublin 
castle, and made his submission on his knees, on which he re- 
ceived the queen's pardon; nevertheless, while under solemn engage- 
ments, and having a protection, he continued to correspond with 
the northern rebels, and watching his opportunity, surprised and 
took Ballinacor, which he razed to the foundation. On this the 
lord-deputy marched into Wicklow, and encamped for a few days 
at Rathdrum, where he took several preys of cattle and many prison- 
ers. It was probably his expectation, that MacHugh would have come 
into terms; but finding this hope vain, he ended by hanging two of 



his pledges a proceeding which surely stamps the barbarity of the 
time, yet which was nevertheless difficult to be evaded. Without 
such a severe equity, the system of pledges, the firmest security of 
the period, must have been absolutely null, and more valuable interests, 
both in life and property, must have been sacrificed to the absolute 
want of any security. The pursuit of Mac Hugh, was pleaded as 
an injury, and as an excuse for rebellion, by Tyrone. 

At the close of 1596, Feagh was brought to an action by captain 
Lea, and defeated with a loss of upwards of 80 men ; and in a few 
months after, May 1597, the lord-deputy again overtook him with a 
strong party, when he was slain in the skirmish which took place. 


CON O'NiALL, commonly called Con Mor, had two sons, Con 
Boccagh, the first earl of Tyrone, and Tirlogh Lynnogh, whose name 
frequently occurs in the history of the time. Con Boccagh was the 
father of Shane O'Neale and others, his legitimate sons, and of Matthew 
who was admitted to be illegitimate, and was further affirmed to be by 
another father of the name of O'Kelly, a smith, whose son he was pub- 
licly reputed to be until his fifteenth year, when by a disclosure of his 
mother's, the old earl was led to believe him to be his own. This per- 
son was set up by the earl as his successor, and created baron of Dun- 
gannon by queen Elizabeth. He was slain by the followers of Shane 
O'Neale, and left three sons, of whom the second was Hugh, the per- 
son here to be commemorated. 

On the death of Shane O'Neale, his uncle Tirlogh Lynnogh was, 
by the law of tanistry, entitled to become the O'Neale, which title he 
accordingly assumed; but by the law of English descent, and by the 
disposition of King Henry, Hugh was the immediate successor of 
his father Matthew, and entitled to the earldom of Tyrone. 

He was brought up in England, and early received employment in 
the queen's service, in which he repeatedly distinguished himself, espe- 
cially in the wars against Gerald the sixteenth earl of Desmond, in 
which he had the command of a troop of horse. At this time his re- 
putation stood high with every party ; while his valour and military 
talent recommended him to the English, the other party, accustomed 
to temporizing submissions, put the most indulgent construction on 
his adhesion to their enemies. Moryson describes his person and 
character with the authority of a contemporary and an eye-witness: 
" He was of mean stature, but of a strong body, as able to endure 
watchings, labour, hard fare; being withal industrious and active, 
valiant, affable, and apt to manage great affairs, and of a high dissem- 
bling subtile and profound wit." 

An important change was then working in the stormy elements of 


Irish contention. The wave of the reformation had flowed in, and the 
resistance of the Roman see gave new force, bitterness, and unity to 
the strife of four centuries. The enmity of Philip the Second, king of 
Spain, added its portion of fuel to the same flame. Ireland was too 
obviously the assailable side of the queen's dominions to be neglected, 
and the Irish chiefs were long cajoled by great promises and small 
aids, which were yet enough to give the excitement of hope to their 
ambition and hate. 

Still Hugh O'Neale was looked on with an invidious eye by many of 
the chiefs. It was felt that he was an intruder on the territorial posses- 
sions of Tyrone ; his father's illegitimacy ; and a still deeper disquali- 
fication, more than suspected, caused him to be slighted by some. 
His adherence to the English government excited the dislike of many, and 
a grasping and tyrannical disposition not peculiar to him, raised numer- 
ous enemies. To these O'Neale turned a front of subtile and profound 
dissimulation, which ended like all indirect courses in determining his 
course to the baser side. While he professed, and we believe truly, 
his attachment to the queen, he was compelled to dissemble with his 
fellow-countrymen. This conduct, which Irish authorities place beyond 
doubt, led in two ways to the determination of his conduct: it sup- 
plied in no small abundance material for misrepresentation, betraying 
him from time to time into positions of an equivocal nature ; and it 
placed him under the occasional necessity of committing himself by 
acting in his assumed character. 

He was as yet little affected by these embarrassments of position, 
when in 1587 he petitioned the parliament, then sitting in Dublin 
under Sir John Perrot, that he might be allowed to take the title and 
possessions of Tyrone. The rank and title were conceded, but for the 
possessions he was told that the question must depend on the queen's 
pleasure, on which he applied for Sir John's recommendatory letters 
to the queen, and represented that a large rent might be reserved to 
the crown, with his free consent. Perrot was reluctant,* but at the 
pressing entreaty of his Irish friends, gave him the required letters. 
Thus authorized, he straightway repaired to England to plead for him- 
self, and put the best face on his own pretensions. O'Neale's address 
and practised suppleness eminently fitted him for such an occasion, and 
in Elizabeth he had a fair object for the exercise of such qualities. She 
received him graciously as an old acquaintance, and suffered herself 
to be pleased by his wily admiration, and the well-assumed simplicity 
which did not prevent his exhibiting his claims and enforcing their 
expediency, with all the dexterity of a sagacious statesman. He 
warmly expressed his regret at the slowness of his countrymen to 
receive the improvement of English manners and laws ; was parti- 
cularly earnest and pathetic in his representation of the afflictions of 
Tyrone ; and with much force of argument, convinced the queen, that 
nothing could proceed rightly until she had put down the barbarous 
title of O'Neale. On the strength of these arguments, he urged his 
personal pretensions, and so won upon the queen that she complied 
with his demands ; he thus obtained the princely inheritance of his 

* Ware. 


family free from any reservation of rent. The conditions were few and 
easy. It was stipulated that the bounds of Tyrone should be accur- 
ately limited; that 240 acres, bordering on the Blackwater, should be 
ceded for an English fort ; that the earl should claim no authority 
over the surrounding chiefs of Ulster ; that the sons of Shane and of 
Tirlough* O'Neale should be provided for. Some writers add a 
strange stipulation : that old Tirlogh should still be continued the 
O'Neale or chief of the sept. This arrangement,though seemingly sub- 
versive of the main principle of the agreement, was in fact recommended 
by an obvious policy, as no great mischief was to be apprehended from 
Tirlogh, who besides his age, was without the means of any extensive 
disturbance, and he was thus made to occupy that position in which the 
ambition of the powerful earl might become dangerous. 

Sir John Perrot was very much offended by this arrangement and 
by the mode of its completion. The patent he felt should have been 
drawn by his own authority, and the conditions arranged with his 
privity and consent. He felt the slight, and disapproved of the re- 
mission of the heavy rent which he supposed himself to have secured. 
Notwithstanding this discontent, when the earl came over to Dublin, 
he was received with all courtesy by Sir John. He then proceeded 
to Tyrone, and easily prevailed on Tirlogh to give up a territorial 
claim which he could by no possibility reduce to possession. 

O'Neale had not long been thus invested with the possession of his 
country, before the inauspicious chain of circumstances which we have 
described as the main causes of his ruin, had their commencement. 
Among the first was his quarrel with Tirlogh Lynnogh, and many 
other quarrels and discontents of the same nature, which arose between 
him and the surrounding chiefs and proprietors. Of these the im- 
mediate consequence was, a succession of complaints, which soon 
placed his conduct in a questionable point of view, and raised a host 
of watchful and acrimonious enemies who let nothing pass unobserved 
and unreported, that could injure him with government. On some 
quarrel between himself and Tirlogh Lynnogh, he made an incursion 
upon his property, and drove away two thousand cows ; and when 
ordered by the lord-deputy to restore them, instead of complying he 
took offence at the interposition, and made a second attack on his enemy 
at Strabane. Tirlogh Lynnogh was, however, supported by two com- 
panies of English soldiers, with which the deputy had prudently sup- 
plied him, immediately on receiving his complaint, and the earl was 
compelled to fly. It was at the same time that he had the impru- 
dence to allow himself to be led into an intercourse with the Scots, which, 
though not in all likelihood carried on with any disloyal purpose, was 
manifestly in a very high degree questionable. The temptations to 
assume the privileges of an independent chief, (to which he possessed no 
shadow of title,) were very considerable. Being in the place and posi- 
tion of the chief of Tyrone, he soon began to be recognised as such, 
by the surrounding chiefs ; they addressed him as a prince, the repre- 
sentative of that ancient house, and as an influential leader on whom 

* Shane's sons were Henry, Con, and Tirlot:h. Tirlogh 's son, Arthur who served 
in the English army in the following rebellion. 

I. 2 K Ir. 



the hopes of his country were mainly fixed. These dangerous assump- 
tions were not easy to repel, and his pride concurred with his fears to 
warp him towards a compliance not less unsafe. There were many 
reasons of a more cogent nature why he should aim to strengthen him- 
self against his numerous surrounding enemies, and thus a very narrow- 
sighted policy combined with other motives to lead him to enter into 
alliances, which could only be maintained by acts capable of receiving 
a criminal construction. It was in consequence of these circumstances, 
that in the year 1587, many questionable reports were transmitted to the 
lord- deputy; among which was that of a treasonable alliance with the 
Scots, by which he sent them aid in men, on the condition of receiving 
the same from them against his enemies. These errors in policy have 
since received from most historians the same unfavourable construc- 
tion, but we cannot help thinking, that in this there is a great neglect 
of allowance for human nature, and the spirit of the age. A more 
patient and therefore more distinct contemplation exhibits Tyrone 
carried on by a chain of controlling circumstances ; although it must 
be admitted, that if such be the unfavourable construction of many 
undoubtedly able writers, their very error seems to justify the severe 
constructions of those governors whose harshness assisted iu precipi- 
tating the earl in his ill-advised course. 

The same constructions apply with still more force to a subsequent 
incident. In 1588, the Spanish Armada, so well known in English 
history, was dispersed by a storm and seventeen of the ships were 
wrecked on the Ulster coast. The prepossessions of the Irish in favour 
of the Spanish were strong, and had, of late years, been assiduously, 
though secretly, cultivated. The earl could not, without offending 
every prejudice of the surrounding districts, notice them otherwise than 
as friends: it was in the spirit of his nation and character to show 
hospitality; and an obvious, though near-sighted reasoning, pointed 
out the future advantages which were likely to follow. The report of 
his favourable reception of the queen's enemies could not fail to be 
in a high degree prejudicial to the earl. Yet, so far as any fair 
inference was to be drawn from the general tenour of his con- 
duct, there was in all this little to support the extreme constructions 
to which he soon became subjected. To suppose that one, pretend- 
ing to the authority and dignity which at that period was ostensibly 
claimed by his ancient house, could at once altogether throw off 
the weight of ancient manners, prejudices, and obligations, the pri- 
vileges immemorially preserved, and all considerations by which he 
was bound by a thousand links of opinion and custom, with the whole 
of his Irish connexions, dependents, and friends, was, in point of fact, 
to assume the extinction of his whole nature ; and it is evident that 
any reasonable government, at whatever changes it aimed and great 
changes were wanting to make Ireland a civilized country should have 
proceeded on the principle of much toleration, and used much caution 
to avoid driving consequences more rapidly than there were means 
provided to ensure success, on any ground equitable or inequitable. 
While, here too, on the other hand, it cannot fairly be denied, that 
a person of Tyrone's clear perceptions must have seen and contem- 
plated, as they arose, events and indications, which might soon render 


it a course of necessity or safety to take a part against the English 

Tyrone neglected no means of increasing his own power and autho- 
rity. He was authorized by the queen, or rather bound by an explicit 
stioulation, to maintain six companies for the defence of Ulster; of 
this he availed himself for the increase of his military force, by 
changing the men in such a manner as to train his whole county to 
arms an expedient which was afterwards made a subject of accusa- 
tion, but which, according to the view here taken, only affords a very 
gross instance of slackness in the government which permitted the 
growth of a power so thoroughly at variance with the whole of its 
recognized policy. 

Under all these circumstances, the recall of Sir John Perrot was 
exceedingly unfortunate. In the want of a sufficient application of 
controlling force, the next best course was that of a moderate and con- 
ciliatory government; though, in that vicious state of civil existence, 
the latter course implied much connivance at abuse, and much tolera- 
tion of evil doing ; there was no other alternative. Sir John was mild, 
just, and as firm as good policy permitted; he had won the good-will of 
the native chiefs, and thus materially fostered a disposition to submit and 
to perceive the real advantages of the English laws. But violent and 
grasping spirits were offended at a moderation which restricted the 
field of confiscation and attainder, and the queen, who did not supply 
the requisite means, was discontented at the slow progress of Irish affairs : 
the general sense of those who were unacquainted with Irish policy was 
that more might be effected by greater energy, and more violent and 
sweeping measures. Under these and such impressions, Sir John was 
recalled, and the government committed to Sir William Fitz- William. 

Previous to his departure Sir John committed an act of injustice, 
which throws disgrace on his character, and which had the most per- 
nicious consequences. This was the seizure of Red Hugh O'Donell, 
and of the two sons of Shane O'Neale, by an act of treachery not to 
be mentioned without disgust. Although the historian of O'Donell, 
and subsequent writers, make it seem that the capture of O'Donell 
was the chief object of that most disgraceful expedition,* yet we think 
it obvious enough that its design was far more indiscriminate.-)- The 
possession of the O'Neales was thought to afford a useful curb over 
the proceedings of the earl, as, while they were alive, their claim 
could if necessary, be set up in opposition to him. This unjust and 
oppressive step was, however, not sufficient to repress the good-will 
generally won from the native Irish by the mild and equitable tenor of 
Perrot's administration, or to counterbalance the good effects it had 
produced. There was a disposition to peace, order, and submission to 
authority, which had been hitherto unprecedented; the most powerful 
of the chiefs and noblemen were ready to come on the summons of 
the governor, and all sorts of provisions were plenty and cheap. 
Fitz- William's conduct was such as to unsettle the favourable disposi- 
tions of the country. The chief cause of every disaffected tendency 
was one which lay tacitly under a heap of pretended or fictitious 

* O'Donell's Life. f See Cox. 



grievances ; the fear of oppression, and the insecurity of rights : the 
chiefs had long heen taught to feel themselves insecure in their pos- 
sessions. Compared with this pervading sense, all other discontents 
were slight, being mostly in their nature local or personal. Rebel- 
lion demands a common cause, the only principle of popular union. 
Then indeed, as since, the moving principle has been ever something 
different, and wholly different, from the spurious convention which in- 
flames and rallies round a common standard the passions of the igno- 
rant and lawless multitude : and if there be any truth in this position, it is 
of material importance so to direct the remedial course as to meet the 
real evil, either by fair concession, or decisive and effectual resistance. 
It was the misfortune of the country that both were at the time re- 
quired, and both neglected. Fitz- William's first course of conduct was 
to awaken the reasonable fears of the Irish chiefs, both for their pro- 
perty and personal liberty. If the seizure of O'Donell, for which 
there was reasonable ground, though the artifice was base and revolt- 
ing, communicated a shock, the seizure of MacToole, Tyrone's father- 
in-law, and of O'Doherty, both persons of the most peaceable de- 
meanour and the highest reputation for loyalty, without the pretext 
of any accusation, or of the shadow even of state necessity, struck 
fire through the whole of Ulster. The pride and fear of every one 
who had any thing to lose, or any sense of self-respect, was offended 
by an action so unwarranted and arbitrary as to convey the dangerous 
sense that no person or property was safe from such a power used in 
such a spirit. In the year 1589, Fitz- William having received informa- 
tion that the Spaniards, who were the preceding year wrecked on the 
northern and western coasts, had left behind them much treasure, first 
endeavoured to secure it by a commission ; this failing, he travelled into 
the north at great expense in quest of the supposed riches. Irritated 
by not finding these, he seized the two gentlemen already named, on the 
report of their having a large part of them in their possession. The 
prisoners refusing to ransom themselves were imprisoned, and detained 
in captivity for a long time.* 

In the meantime, Hugh Na'Gaveloch, an illegitimate son of Shane 
O'Neale, brought information to Fitz- William that Tyrone had entered 
into a secret alliance with the Spaniards. Tyrone was not long in 
discovering the informer, whom he caused to be hanged. It is said 
that it was difficult to find one to hang this offender on account of 
the name of O'Neale. 

This, with the other circumstance related, and the general impres- 
sion produced by all the various rumours in circulation to the preju- 
dice of Fitz- William's character and motives, alarmed Tyrone. He 
knew himself to be a fair and tempting object for suspicion and cupi- 
dity, and resolved to anticipate the accusations which he feared by a 
personal appeal to the favour and justice of the queen. He went over 
to England in May, 1 590. Owing to this journey having been taken 
without the lord-deputy's permission, he was at first placed under 
arrest. On submission he was liberated, and had a satisfactory audience 
from the queen, after which he agreed to enter into bonds for the secu- 

* Morvson. 


rity of the pale, and to keep the peace with Tirlogh Lynnogh. He also 
agreed to put in pledges to be chosen by the lord-deputy, it being pro- 
vided that these pledges should not lie in the castle, but be committed 
to the keeping of some gentlemen within the pale, and that they might 
be exchanged every three months a provision remarkable for its 
fairness and humanity ; but if looked on further, not less sagaciously 
adapted to the purpose of eluding the consequences of any violation 
of the terms on his part, or of the suspicions of government, which 
were at least as likely to occur. The articles of his former agree- 
ment were also, at the same time, confirmed by fresh engagements to 
the same effect. 

On his return to Dublin, he came before the council, and confirmed 
the articles which had been transmitted from England. He, never- 
theless, continued to defer their fulfilment, excusing himself by letters 
to the English and Irish councils, in which he entreated that Tirlogh 
Lynnogh, and other neighbouring lords, should be rendered subject to 
the same engagements. 

In the same year occurred the most unjust and impolitic execution 
of the chief of Monaghan, MacMahon, upon no ostensible plea of 
justice, and for which the only appearance of excuse was the false 
asseveration that the whole country seemed glad of his execution. The 
actual charge was as absurdly made, as the whole proceeding was 
treacherous and undignified; and the effect was a very violent aggra- 
vation of the discontents of Ulster. The story is worth telling. Some 
time before MacMahon had surrendered his property, which he held 
under tanistry, and received it in English tenure by a grant under the 
broad seal, in which the inheritance was limited to himself and hi.i 
heirs male, and in failure of these to his brother, Hugh Roe Mac- 
Mahon. In the year 1590, MacMahon died without heirs of his body, 
and the succession was claimed by his brother according to the patent. 
He was first put off on the excuse of a certain fee of six hundred 
cows, for, according to Moryson, " such and no other were the Irish 
bribes." He was then seized and imprisoned, but after a few days re- 
leased, with a promise that the lord-deputy would himself go and 
settle him in the county of Monaghan. Accordingly, in a few days, 
Fitz- William made a journey to that country with MacMahon in his 
company. Immediately, however, on their arrival MacMahon was 
seized, shut up in his own house, tried by a jury composed of soldiers 
and Irish kernes, which latter were shut up and denied all food until 
they found him guilty of a pretended misdemeanour, for which he was 
at once executed. His country was then divided among several per- 
sons, both English and Irish, all of whom, it was alleged, and may 
fairly be presumed, paid well for their shares. The whole of these 
facts, if truly stated, place beyond doubt that the design was precon- 
ceived and planned by the deputy, and that the journey was a con- 
trivance to get the victim entirely into his own hands, by a removal 
from the constraint of the civil authorities before whom he should 
otherwise have been tried, and who would have treated as vexatious 
the charge that this person, two years before, had entered a neigh- 
bouring district, and levied a distress for rent due to him. Consider- 
ing the general laxitv of construction which prevailed at the time, 



and the far more serious offences which were daily connived at or 
compromised the arrest by a most fraudulent manoeuvre the clandes- 
tine and illegal trial and execution, and the division of the spoil it 
would be setting at naught the ordinary laws of equitable construc- 
tion to deny that an aggravated outrage was thus committed against 
right. The whole of this iniquitous proceeding was at once and 
universally understood. It struck at the root of all confidence the 
wide-spread and deeply-seated elements of disaffection and hate were 
aggravated and apparently justified by a well-grounded distrust; 
and there were at the time active agents at work, by whom nothing 
was let fall inoperative that could awaken and concentrate hostility to 
the English. On the report of this execution, the chiefs of Ulster 
were not slow to express their sense by their language and actions. 
They showed the utmost unwillingness to admit any English sheriffs, 
or admit of any channel for the entrance of laws which they saw could 
thus easily be made the weapon of rapine and murder. 

These transactions, whatever may have been their influence in deter- 
mining the after-course of Tyrone, had the immediate effect of ren- 
dering his conduct cautious and watchful in an increased degree. He 
had a fray with his neighbour, Tirlogh Lynnogh, in which Tirlogh 
was wounded: Tyrone anticipated his complaint by a representation 
that the occurrence was caused by his neighbour's attempt to take a 
prey in his lands, from which he repelled him by force. He also, im- 
mediately after, permitted the county of Tyrone to be made shire 
ground. In July, 1591? the bounds of this county were defined by 
commissioners appointed for the purpose ; who divided it into eight 
baronies, and made Dungannon the shire town. 

One act of Tyrone, of which we only know the fact from its con- 
sequences, was perhaps more decisive of his fate than any other cause. 
It was that in the same year a complaint was preferred against him by 
Sir Henry Bagnal, for having carried off his sister and married her, 
his former wife being still alive. Tyrone defended himself by alleg- 
ing that the lady was taken away and married by her own consent, 
and that his former wife had been previously divorced. 

Amidst all these occasions of offence and fear, it is not improbable 
that a great change may have grown over the temper of the earl ; 
yet his overt conduct, at least, still manifested a disposition to adhere to 
the English government. In the English council also there was a 
disposition to trust him : the main occasions of his irregular proceed- 
ings were understood, or met with a favourable construction ; his re- 
putation for sagacity also stood in his favour, for as his best interest 
lay in the shelter of the English government, he was allowed the 
credit of understanding this fact ; while every charge which had 
hitherto been advanced against him met with a fair excuse, many ser- 
vices of an unquestionable nature ascertained his fidelity, or disarmed 
accusation of its pretext. Such, indeed, both in historical or political 
construction of the characters of public men, is the case which con- 
stantly recurs, and renders judgment difficult and fairness itself a risk. 
In their overt acts, fair appearances, honest motives, and universal 
principles, are kept on the surface, however base, dangerous, or dis- 
honest, may be the motives and designs of the actors. There can be no 


course of public conduct maintained in the public eye, that is not 
capable of being defended upon the ground of principle ; while the 
more refined and less popular reasoning by which the secret can be 
traced, depends on facts and assumptions which, though plain to all 
thinking persons, are not so capable of being substantiated to the 
coarse perception and prejudiced sense of the public mind so gene- 
rally just in its practical maxims, and so inapt beyond them. 

Judging by his public acts, by his fair professions, or by a due allow- 
ance for the just sense of his own interests, it is to be inferred that the 
earl of Tyrone was still at this period of our narrative sincere in his 
professions of loyalty. But it is impossible to make these allowances, 
without also insisting upon some allowance of an opposite value, for 
other facts of which he must have been fully cognizant, and in no 
small degree influenced by. We are made aware, by several statements 
of a very authoritative nature, that he maintained an intimate under- 
standing with the Irish, who were at the same time entering into a 
most formidable conspiracy against the English pale. 

While the state of English affairs seemed to be approaching to a 
steady and settled aspect of prosperity, a strong and dangerous under- 
working had set in, which menaced the very existence of the pale. 
O'Donell, whose capture and well-grounded hate to the English go- 
vernment we have related, had escaped from his cruel, impolitic cap- 
tivity, and, after many romantic adventures, found refuge and friend- 
ship with Tyrone ; and from this moment the latter was in fact a 
consenting party to all the machinations of the insurgents. This 
consent may be affirmed to have been insincere, but cannot be reason- 
ably denied. If the defence be considered worth any thing, there is 
indeed ample ground for questioning his sincerity to either party; 
and it will, after all, be the best that can be said, that his deportment 
to either was the stern dictate of circumstance. It was the result of 
his position, that the contingencies belonging to whatever course he 
might take wore a formidable aspect; and his best excuse must be 
found in the conduct of the English government. The difficulties 
which pressed him on either side should have been allowed for; and 
while his conduct received the most indulgent construction, he should 
have been firmly upheld in the course which was imposed on him by 
his obligations to the queen's government. 

Instead of support and allowance, on the fair principle of recogniz- 
ing the difficulties of his position, these difficulties were soon indefinitely 
increased by a jealous scrutiny, which began to give the worst con- 
struction to every act, and the readiest reception to every whisper 
which breathed against him. It was unquestionably the duty of a 
vigilant administration to keep the most jealous eye on the conduct of 
one whose situation was exposed to so many varied impulses. But 
judicious watchfulness is not more vigilant to detect an indication, 
than cautious to avoid misconstruction; and it was, or ought to have 
been known, how much enmity and how much grasping cupidity 
were on the alert to hunt down so rich a victim as Tyrone. 

While, then, to sum the fact in a few words, Tyrone truly or insin- 
cerely asserted his loyalty to the queen, with the same respective de- 
gree, of insincerity or truth, he asserted his adherence to the party of 



O'Donell, to whom he pleaded the necessity of preserving appearances 
towards the English ; and under the operation of this most fatai 
position, the moment was fast approaching when he must of necessity 
have taken his choice, and when the indulgence of the English for 
this too has its limits would have been fatuity, not fairness. Such, 
then, is the ground which we desire to take, on a question upon which, 
we think, some able writers have taken a narrow and a partial view. 

As yet, however, it is manifest the public conduct of Tyrone en- 
titled him to be considered as a loyal British subject. In 1592, among 
other statements, he wrote to the English council that he had brought 
over O'Donell to the queen's allegiance, and " that he would persuade 
him to loyalty, and, in case he were obstinate, that he would serve against 
him as an enemy."* Another circumstance one of the many which 
accumulated into the serious rebellion which followed gave Tyrone 
an occasion to maintain his character of questionable loyalty. In the 
year 1593, M'Guire, chief of Fermanagh, began to take an active 
part in the gathering troubles of the north. He was, in common with 
all the surrounding chiefs of Ulster, alarmed and irritated by the exe- 
cution of MacMahon ; and the feeling was chiefly indicated by n. 
reluctance to admit of an English sheriff within these territories. It 
is mentioned by Davis, that, when Fitz- William first intimated to 
M'Guire his intention to send an English sheriff into Fermanagh, the 
chief replied, " Your sheriff shall be welcome ; but let me know his 
erie, that if my people cut off his head, I may levy it on the county." 
The sheriff was sent, with two hundred men to support him. And 
not long after, he was, with his party, assailed by M'Guire, and 
driven to take refuge in a church, where they would have been exter- 
minated by fire, but for the timely interposition of the earl of Tyrone. 
The lord-deputy, on this, sent a party of soldiers into Fermanagh, who 
seized M'Guire's castle of Eniskillen ; the chief was proclaimed a 
traitor; and the lord-deputy let fall some threats against the earl of 
Tyrone, which soon found their way to his ear. These expressions, 
whatever was their import, were afterwards referred to by the earl as 
a justification of his subsequent conduct. From the time he was 
apprized of the deputy's language, he said that he began to consider 
his safety doubtful, and to make up his mind to join with O'Donell. 

Still he thought it necessary to preserve appearances ; and when 
M'Guire, breaking into open rebellion, made an irruption into Con- 
naught, Tyrone joined his forces to the English and took an active 
part in the operations by which he was driven back. On this occasion 
he received a wound. But whatever were his intentions, nothing could 
now divert the course of the suspicion and enmity which watched and 
severely interpreted every thing he did. Though ready to comply with 
his avowed engagements, there was much to support a jealous view of 
all his conduct : he gave his daughter in marriage to O'Donell, and 
refused to deliver up the sons of Shane O'Neale, whom he had seized 
and cast into chains. 

In the month of August, 1594, Fitz- William was recalled, and Sir 
William Russell sent over in his room. The complaints against 

* Moryson. 



Tyrone had increased, and suspicion was growing fast into certainty, 
when he made his appearance in the metropolis, from which he had 
carefully absented himself during Fitz-William's government. The 
step was politic, but not without risk ; for the enemies of the earl 
were many and powerful, and (had enmity been wanting) his conduct 
was open to suspicion. But, above all the whispers of suspicion, or the 
cautious doubts of guarded policy, the bitter animosity of Bagnal made 
itself heard. Bagnal earnestly urged that the earl's visit to the city 
was but an artifice to lull the suspicions excited by his long course of 
double dealing, entreated that he should be arrested, and offered to 
make good several articles of treason against him. The accusations 
of Bagnal had been repeatedly proffered, and comprised all the ques- 
tionable acts of the earl's past life, most of which we have mentioned 
in their order of occurrence. They were chiefly these : That he en- 
tertained Gauran, titular primate of Ireland, knowing him to be a 
traitor this Gauran had been but recently slain in an encounter be- 
tween Bingham and M'Guire in Connaught ; that he corresponded 
with O'Donell, who was at the very time levying war against the 
queen ; that, being allowed to keep six companies in the queen's ser- 
vice, he so contrived, by continued changes of the men, to discipline 
the entire population sf Tyrone; that having engaged to build a castle 
for his own residence after the fashion of the English nobility, he had 
availed himself of the occasion as a pretence to purchase a quantity 
of lead as if for the roof, but which he stored in Dungannon as mate- 
rial for bullets. But whatever may have been Tyrone's sincerity, 
he was no mean proficient in the arts of speciousness : he vindicated 
his character and intentions before the council, to whom, in the tone 
of ardent gratitude, he enumerated the many honours and benefits he 
had received from the bounty of the queen ; and renounced all mercy 
from the Almighty if he should ever lift his hand against her. He 
promised to send his son to be educated in Dublin, and to deliver suf- 
ficient pledges for his future conduct. These representations, which 
were accompanied with specific answers to the several charges which 
had been made against him, impressed the council and the lord-deputy 
in his favour; and they agreed to dismiss him. The queen, who had, 
perhaps, before this been enabled to form a more correct estimate of 
Tyrone's conduct, was very much displeased, and sent over a severe 
reprimand. She thought that her deputy should at least have used the 
occasion to stipulate for the relief of Eniskillen,* an object which, 
in the same month, was effected by Sir William Russell, who, by a 
week of rapid and laborious marching over mountain and bog, entered 
Eniskillen without a blow ; the enemy having abandoned it on his 

Notwithstanding the strong professions of Tyrone, his real designs 
were now strongly impressed on the government in both countries. 
An equivocal course can only deceive for a short time, and suspicious 
conduct long persisted in becomes the certain indication of the crime 
suspected. The conduct of Tyrone has been by some thought recon- 
cilable with loyal intention we should now judge by the event. 

* Cox. 



The government was decided, in some measure, by the general evi- 
dence of character and the native craft ascribed to Tyrone. He was 
doubtless fully bent on rebellion. We have willingly conceded to 
those who are inclined to take the most favourable view, that his 
earlier professions of loyalty were sincere; it is indeed the infer- 
ence we have ourselves arrived at: we have also strongly asserted 
our belief that he was placed in a position which rendered persever- 
ance in loyalty difficult in a high degree between the accusations of 
those who loved his possessions, or resented his encroaching and 
tyrannical actions the restless suspicions and despotic temper of 
lord-deputies, and the fierce remonstrances of his own countrymen. 
Viewing his conduct with every allowance of palliation, we think that 
from the commencement of 1594, he must be allowed to have engaged 
clandestinely in the design then openly avowed by O'Donell ; and all 
professions to the contrary were such as could only be allowed to pass 
by the most blameable remissness. It is at this point of time that we 
think it, therefore, important to draw a line, which has been obliterated 
by the strong party professions of those who have written on either 
Bide: Cox, whose prejudices blind him, and Moryson who lay within 
the dust of the struggle, and could not be expected to see beyond it, 
and the numerous historians who but follow in the wake of these: or, 
on the other hand, the recent writers who, with a far larger grasp of 
facts and principles, can only be just to the cause so far as their political 
creed allows of justice. Totally dissenting from the spirit of each, 
we have neither allowed the subject of our memoir to be set down 
as one of the most base and crafty traitors that ever breathed; 
nor, on the contrary, one of the most injured victims of a base faction 
and tyrannical government. The government was often incompetent, 
often tyrannical, and in no instance administered on principles of clear- 
sighted and comprehensive policy or justice : but Tyrone was fairly 
open from the beginning to suspicion. Though sagacious, he had not 
discretion to resist the temptations of power: he was brave in action 
but he had not the firmness to preserve his consistency. The taunts 
and solicitations of the disaffected, the injuries and insults of the in- 
terested underlings of power, warped his course and brought him into 
positions, in which he met not perhaps all the allowance which these 
considerations might seem to claim: because, in reality, such allowance 
cannot in any case be made, but by the eye of omniscience. We shall 
not, therefore, with some contemporary writers, allow him the praise 
of a great man. He was, in our estimate, much sinning as well as 
much sinned against ; and it is precisely at the period of his life at 
which we have now arrived, that we are anxious to impress our reader 
with this distinction that having till now wavered under the operation 
of causes hard to resist, he at length, under the continued operation of 
these causes joined the struggle, and began to move heart and hand with 
the rebel party. 

But it was among the least equivocal indications of the double 
play upon which Tyrone had entered, that to the native chiefs who 
had at this time leagued against the English, he actually professed 
that such was the true nature of his conduct towards the English; that 
his professions were intended for the purpose of deception : and that 


his very acts of seeming good faith were necessary to support liis 
professions. However his deception may be excused, he was a de- 
ceiver. But O'Donell, who had, from the beginning, taken the most 
decided course, now conceived that the time for disguise was over. 
The native Irish had gained discipline and confidence ; they were be- 
ginning to be united into the sense of a common cause by the efforts 
of the foreign ecclesiastics who were sent amongst them from Italy 
and Spain. From the latter country, they received the fullest assur- 
ances of liberal aid in men, money, and military supplies. The hopes 
of the insurgent party were high, and not without strong grounds, 
both in their own strength and in the weakness of the English, for 
whom no efficient protection was yielded at any time. Under these cir- 
cumstances, the temporising policy of the earl rendered him an object 
of suspicion to the Irish as well as to the English ; and O'Donell now 
at once snapped asunder the cobweb tissue of his transparent deceptions, 
by a menace that if he did not declare himself openly he would at once 
treat him as an enemy. In this there can be, however, little doubt, 
that, considered with respect to policy, the step was premature. It 
was the more cautious design of Tyrone to avoid awakening the go- 
vernment into any decided course, until the aid so liberally promised 
by Spain should enable them to support their pretensions. The spirit 
and energy of O'Donell, with all their efficacy in stirring up the spirit 
of the land, were by no means as available in the combination of diffi- 
culties which were now soon to arise, as the circumspect and cautious 
character of Tyrone. 

The true state of Irish affairs began to be understood in the English 
council; and it was resolved to take more effectual means to put down 
the rising troubles which had for some time worn a menacing aspect. 
A fresh supply of veteran troops was ordered for Ireland, and it was 
resolved to suppress and overawe the malcontents of Ulster, by encom- 
passing them on every side. It was also directed that the lord-deputy 
should endeavour to detach O'Donell, of whose real spirit they were 
ignorant, from Tyrone: it was considered that O'Donell had received 
severe and gratuitous ill treatment, which demanded some offer of 
redress, and partly justified his proceedings. 

The lord-deputy wrote over to request that, with the troops, an ex- 
perienced commander might be sent ; from whose judgment he might 
receive warrant and confirmation in the conduct of his military opera- 
tions. In answer to this request, the queen sent Sir John Norris, 
who had very much distinguished himself as a general in the low 

When Tyrone was apprized of the contemplated reinforcement, he 
became very much alarmed for the consequences, and justly fearing 
the design which was rumoured about, he resolved to prevent it by 
the seizure of the English fort which had been built, according to his 
former agreement, on the Blackwater ; and which was the main check 
which the queen's government possessed over his own movements. 

Pretending some frivolous quarrel with its garrison, he attacked 
and took this fort, and burnt down the bridge to the water. It was 
the passage into his country, and had he been previously engaged in 
a course of open hostilities, he could not have taken a better step. 


Having thus plunged into rebellion, he wrote letters to the earl of 
Kildare, to persuade him to follow the same mad course, and sent 
off emissaries to Spain to apply for aid and money. His next step 
was to invest Monaghan, the castle of which was garrisoned by the 

On the news of this, general Bagnal marched to the relief of the 
besieged town on the 24th May, with fifteen hundred foot and two 
hundred and fifty horse. Late in the evening, the army reached a 
place called Eight-mile-church, and took its quarters for the night. 
While this was doing, Tyrone with a large body of horse came within 
sight, within about half a mile, but presently retired without any 
further demonstration. Next morning the English marched on until 
they reached a pass, when they were attacked; but succeeded in forc- 
ing their way, and proceeded on their march till they reached the town. 
The siege was raised on their approach ; nothing material occurred dur- 
ing the remainder of that day, but the English leaders soon perceived 
that their position was not the most advantageous. Within a mile of 
where they lay, on a hill by the abbey of Monaghan, they were enabled 
distinctly to perceive the junction of the armies of M'Guire, and other 
chiefs, with the formidable host of Tyrone, forming a body of eight 
thousand foot, and one thousand horse, as well armed and scarcely less 
disciplined than themselves. The English, little more than the ninth 
part of that army in number, were besides but ill provided for an emer- 
gency, which nothing had led them to expect, and it was quite obvious 
that their best success would be to make a successful retreat. On the 
next morning the enemy's camp was in motion at an early hour, and 
strong parties were seen to march out in different directions with 
silent celerity, but not so secretly as to escape the observation of the 
veteran who commanded the English party. The rebel leaders con- 
ceiving that the English were in their power, and only to be secured, 
had prudently enough resolved to seize on every pass, and cut off their 
retreat. Bagnal was not prevented by the visible danger from taking 
such precautions as he thought necessary, for the relief of Monaghan, 
into which he sent men and victuals, and then ordered a retreat. This 
operation was, however, become in a high degree difficult ; the rebel 
leaders, from their knowledge of the country, were enabled to throw 
themselves into a hollow through which the English must presently pass. 
When the English reached this place they were encountered by a severe 
fire, which, from the multitude of the assailants and their advantage 
of position, would quickly have anihilated them had it lasted ; but by 
great good fortune the rebels were not provided with ammunition 
sufficient to keep up their fire which after some fierce discharges became 
slack. On this the English, knowing that the danger was over, pre- 
pared to encamp for the night: they had lost twenty men and had 
ninety wounded; of the rebels between three and four hundred had 
fallen. All night the English lay in the very midst of the Irish army, 
which occupied all the heights and posts of advantage round them. 
They lay in their arms and were fully prepared for any sudden irruption 
which might reasonably be anticipated from the known customs of the 
enemy with which they had to deal. This consequence was perhaps 
arrested by a much more prudent conduct on the part of Tyrone and 



his friends. Thinking to make the matter sure they sent to Dungannon 
for a supply of ammunition, but providentially obtained none ; on the 
next morning, therefore, the English were allowed to pursue their way 
unmolested to Newry. 

This bold step was followed soon by a proclamation, declaring 
Tyrone, O'Donell, M'Guire, and others, traitors. In the mean 
time, Sir John Norris had arrived with 8000 men, of which 2000 
were veteran soldiers ; and on the 1 8th of June, they marched to- 
wards Dundalk. On the 23d, O'Donell, Tyrone, and other chiefs 
who were of their party, were proclaimed traitors, " both in Eng- 
lish and Irish."* On this the insurgent chiefs, either took alarm; 
or else, as is not unlikely under the circumstances in which they sup- 
posed themselves to stand, they thought it would be advisable to gain 
time, and by any means, avoid a premature trial of strength : and 
adopted the course of a pretended submission. Such expedients were 
indeed convenient, and easy in the highest degree, at a time when 
the most solemn engagements and binding pledges were entered into, 
and broken with a facility unintelligible in any modern state of things. 
The Irish chiefs were under an illusory expectation of foreign aid, 
and had not been enabled by any experience to calculate on the real 
fosce which England could throw into the struggle if once fairly com- 
mitted to it. They were imposed on by the desultory nature of the 
contest, in which they played unconsciously with the arms of the 
sleeping giant that had, when fairly roused, been ever found an over- 
match for any nation on wave or plain. Yet making all allowances 
for the errors of the time, it is difficult for those who look through the 
medium of modern conventions, to comprehend satisfactorily the entire 
conduct of the rebel earl : or to reconcile even to any well devised system 
of deception, his frequent and anxious petitions for pardons which 
were spurned as soon as obtained: or his specious excuses and profes- 
sions, with his bold and furious outbreaks such as the demolition of the 
fort of Blackwater, his attack on Monaghan, and his treasonable cor- 
respondence with the earl of Kildare, in which he proposed to that 
nobleman to join in rebellion. 

Still more strange indeed was the course which Camden attributes to 
the earl. While yet engaged in the preparations for an extensive 
combination against the English government,"]" he addressed letters to 
the earl of Ormonde, and to Sir Henry Wallop, to implore for their 
intercession in his behalf. He also wrote to the general-in-chief Sir J. 
Norris, to the same purpose, immediately after his former defeat. 
Whatever may have been the character of Tyrone's applications, their 
purpose was partially frustrated by a manoeuvre as dishonest, and a 
thousand times more base. The deceit of Tyrone was sanctioned by 
usage ; it was a trick nearly conventional in the shuffling game of 
Irish politics : but the interception and suppression of his letters by 
marshal Bagnal was the mean and dishonourable expedient of personal 

* Cox. 

t Something in this statement is to be allowed for the exaggerations of party. 
All the Irish historians of Camden's age, like those of our own, were, without 
exception, party writers. 



malice the base resource of a base passion. The letter to Norris, 
falling thus into the hands of Tyrone's deadliest enemy, was carefully 
held back until the proclamation had gone forth. But in addition to 
his other crimes, it was discovered that Tyrone had written to the king 
of Spain, to offer him the kingdom of Ireland for a supply of 3000 
men and some money.* The queen was irritated by outbreaks so re- 
peated as to remove all confidence in professions or pledges, and de- 
clared her resolution never to pardon the earl again a resolution 
which, says Cox, she kept to her dying day. 

Many strong considerations, however, weighed on the other side: the 
strength of the English was far inferior to the exigency of circum- 
stances ; and that of the rebels was fast augmenting in numbers, com- 
bination, discipline, and the munitions of war. The Irish force in 
Ulster alone was rated at 7,280. The incessant efforts of Tyrone 
and O'Donell had brought them into a state of training scarcely 
inferior to that of the English, of whom the greater part were but 
raw recruits. Sir John Perrot had been betrayed into an expedient, 
which had very much tended to this result: in his desire to increase 
his force with less cost, by fighting the Irish against each other, he 
had employed and trained to arms large bodies of men, who now 
swelled the ranks of the insurgent chiefs. 

These considerations, with the strong urgency of those English lords, 
who were the personal friends of Tyrone, weighed with the English 
government. The treachery of Bagnal had also its weight in favour 
of Tyrone, and the queen gave her consent that a treaty should be 
entered on with himself and the chiefs of his party. A truce was 
therefore made on the 27th October, 1595, till the first of January 
following, for the purpose of hearing the complaints, and receiving the 
submissions of the chiefs, and coming to some distinct terms for their 
future government. For this, Sir Henry Wallop, and chief-justice 
Gardiner, were appointed commissioners, and a meeting took place 
about the middle of January. 

The particulars of the conference are given at large, both by Mory- 
son, and by the MS. historian of O'Donell. The representations of the 
chiefs were specious, and their complaints for the most part just; but 
this constitutes the vast difficulty of the Irish history of this entire 
period, that nothing on either side (especially on that of the Irish 
chiefs,) was precisely according to the ostensible pretence of the par- 
ties. The speeches were fair, and the demands not unreasonable: but 
nothing was meant by the leading chiefs but to trifle ; and those 
amongst their number who were in good earnest, were perverted by 
the representations of O'Donell, who addressed them apart, and set 
before them his view of their true prospects in the growing strength 
of their arms, and the promises of the king of Spain, who, he said, 
" should not be deceived, as he was incapable of deceiving them." Such 
is the true representation of one who could not have mistaken what 
passed before him, and is the best commentary on the statement of 
Moryson, which otherwise leaves the conduct of the Irish chiefs inex- 
plicable. We extract it entire. 

* Cox. 


" Tyrone in this conference complained of the marshall for his 
usurped jurisdiction in Ulster, for depriving him of the queen's favours 
by slanders ; for intercepting his late letters to the lord deputie, and 
lord generall, protesting that he never negotiated with forraine prince, 
till he was proclaimed traytor. His humble petitions were, that hee 
and his might be pardoned, and have free exercise of religion granted, 
(which notwithstanding had never before either been punished or 
inquired after.) That the marshall should pay him one thousand 
pounds for his dead sisters, his wives portion; that no garrisons nor 
sheriffes should be in his country; that his troope of fiftie horse in 
the queenes pay might be restored to him ; and that such as had 
preyed his country, might make restitution. 

" O'Donell, magnifying his fathers' and progenitors' services to the 
crowne, complained that captaine Boyne, sent by Sir John Perrot 
with his company into his countrey, under pretence to reduce the 
people to civilitie, and being well entertained by his father, had 
besides many other injuries raised a bastard to be O'Donell, and 
that Sir John Perrot, by a ship sent thither, had taken himselfe by 
force, and long imprisoned him at Dublin ; and that Sir William 
Fitz- William had wrongfully kept Owen O'Toole, above mentioned, 
seven yeeres in prison. His petitions were for pardon to him and 
his, and for freedome of religion ; that no garrisons or sheriffs might 
bee placed in his countrey, and that certain castles and lands in the 
county of Sligo might bee restored to him. 

" Shane MacBrian, MacPhelime O'Neale, complained of an iland 
taken from him by the earle of Essex, and that he had been impri- 
soned till he surrendered to the marshall a barony, his ancient inheri- 
tance. Hugh M'Guire complained of insolencies done by garrison 
Eouldiers, and by a sheriffe, who besides killed one of his nearest 
kinsmen, Brian MacHugh Oge, and MacHowne, (so the Irish called 
the chiefe of that name surviving,) and Ever MacCooly, of the same 
family of MacHownes, complained of the above-mentioned unjust exe- 
cution of Hugh Roe MacHowne, in the governement of Sir William 
Fitz- Williams."* 

The commissioners admitted the fairness of many of these com- 
plaints, and frankly promised redress; but thought it necessary on the 
part of the queen to make such conditions as were absolutely necessary 
to secure the peace of the country in the interim. It was stipulated 
that they should lay down their arms, repair the forts they had razed, 
admit sheriffs into their territories and counties, restore property they 
had obtained by recent violence, abstain from their attacks on the 
garrisoned forts; that they should reveal their secret communications 
with the foreign enemies of the queen, ask pardon for their rebellion, 
and solemnly swear allegiance, and to avoid all future rebellion. As 
there was nothing in these demands inconsistent with the repeated 
promises and pretences of those who were now present, it would not 
be easy to assign any specious ground for a refusal ; yet such was the 
result. The conference was held in the 'open fields, and in sight of 
the armed guards which either party thought necessary for their pro- 

* Morysoii. 


tection. But after listening with seeming respect to the propositions 
of the commissioners, they adjourned to a neighbouring hill, where 
speeches widely different from those we have just seen were made;* 
und the discussion was fiercely terminated without any result but a 
truce most injudicious on the part of the English, and precisely no more 
nor less than the object which the insurgents desired, and which gave 
them further time till April. 

In the interval the earl discovered that matters were not as ripe 
for war as he had anticipated ; for in June, he was glad to receive 
terms substantially the same from Norris, who came to Dundalk 
with the intent of leading his army into Tyrone. On this occa- 
sion the earl signed a submission in which he agreed to separate him- 
self from the rebels, to refrain from intermeddling with his neighbours, 
to admit a sheriff, to rebuild Blackwater fort, to supply the garrison for 
ready money, to dismiss his forces, to confess his foreign negotiations, 
to give in sufficient pledges, and to pay whatever fine the queen should 
think fit to impose. His pardon was signed on the 12th May, and he 
sent a letter from the king of Spain to be perused by the government, 
taking however care to swear his messenger not to permit a copy to be 
taken, as such a document would evidently have the effect of commit- 
ting him with O'Donell, and the other chiefs, by the exposure of an 
act which they might have violently resented. 

But such was the uncertainty of the earl's mind, that he had not yet 
completely executed the preliminaries of this agreement, when he 
repented. Either his pride, which apparently stood on low ground, 
or his fear of his Irish allies, or the influence of the frank and spirited 
O'Donell, or his hopes of foreign aid, or all of these motives weighed 
upon his mind, and deterred him from the course of honour and pru- 
dence. Sir Edward Moore, who was sent to convey to him his pardon 
and receive his pledges, could nowhere find him: he eluded his engage- 
ment by concealing himself. We believe the fact to be, that in the 
interval he received a letter from O'Donell, apprizing him of the arrival 
of three Spanish vessels with two hundred men, and a supply of ammu- 
nition, with the promise of more. There is sufficient evidence quoted 
by Cox for the assertion, that he immediately engaged in a treason- 
able correspondence with Feagh MacHugh. At length, on the 22d of 
July, he took out his pardon, and put in his pledges with strong pro- 
testations of future loyalty ; but by a remissness on the part of govern- 
ment, which would be unaccountable if it were necessary to account 
for the numberless inconsistencies of this anomalous history, he was 
allowed to refuse taking an oath against foreign correspondence. 

The next incident of this strange history is in character with the 
rest. A war, of which we shall elsewhere give the particulars, broke out 
in Leinster with Feagh MacHugh, and while it engaged the attention 
of the English, the earl made a descent upon Armagh, which he at- 
tempted to surprize. In this assault, thirty-five of the garrison were 
slain, and eight were killed in the neighbourhood where they had been 
sent to collect wood.f On this he was written to by the lord-deputy 
and council, and replied that he was induced to this action by their 

* MS. Life of O'Donell. f Cox. 



attack on his ally MacHugh a reply plainly in the teeth of all en- 
gagements; so as indeed to show that with all the intelligence attri- 
buted to Tyrone, he never had a distinct conception of the real force 
of his agreements with the government. It was on the 30th Decem- 
ber following, that Feagh MacHugh was killed. 

In our summary of the above-mentioned particulars, we have taken 
the accounts most favourable to Tyrone, so far as they can be regard- 
ed as entitled to consideration. The account of Moryson in some 
respects presents a more unfavourable aspect of the earl's history ; but 
unless when he happens to be an eye-witness, we must consider the 
report of a contemporary always to be received with no slight caution, 
and to be carefully tested by adverse writers. Some, however, of the 
particulars of the agreement last mentioned, are according to Moryson's 
view, such as to extenuate in some degree the conduct of Tyrone. 
We would not, however, be mistaken ; we mean that sort of extenu- 
ation which arises from judging of men's actions from their principles 
of action, and their notions of right, however erroneous. Moryson 
mentions that Tyrone made his submission on his knees, but from the 
same account it appears that most of the stipulations which he thought 
fit to make were sternly rejected. For this it may indeed be admit- 
ted, that there was sufficient reason in the nature and design of these 
stipulations, some of which but too plainly exhibited that the earl was 
trifling, and some were inconsistent with the very principle recognized 
in his submission, namely, that he was a subject to the English throne. 
Among these, one was a petition for " liberty of religion," and was as 
the journalist says, " utterly rejected." This must now seem hard; 
at that time it was both just and expedient, for religion was the hol- 
low pretext to concentrate under the shadow of a common cause, a 
rebellion originating in, and kept alive by motives of self-interest, 
pride, resentment, and fear. Under the sacred name of 'religion, it 
was then not uncommon to mask designs which could not safely be 
exhibited; but it was known that Tyrone scoffed openly at theolo- 
gical disputes, and in his personal conduct and private intercourse 
was really an irreligious person. " Hang thee," said the courtly earl 
of Essex in a friendly conversation, " thou talkest of a free exercise of 
religion thou carest as much for religion as my horse;" the jest was 
taken in friendly part by the earl, who had too much tact and pride 
to make himself ridiculous, by an unseasonable hypocrisy. The day 
was yet far off when political craft involved the necessity of private 
dissimulation ; but at the same time we must in fairness admit, that 
the rights of conscience may be contested by the most flagitious; and 
that liberty of religion, is a ground on which infidelity itself may take 
its stand with some degree of sincerity. Such is (or was) human 
nature. Among other stipulations, Tyrone demanded freedom from 
sheriffs and garrisons. This demand, so utterly inconsistent with the 
idea of submission, as well as with his station as a British earl, was 
of course refused.* He interceded for the pardon of O'Reilly ; and it 
was justly answered, that being himself to be pardoned, he could not 
be received as the mediator for the offences of another. The whole 

* Moryson. 



of this portion of our narrative seems to place beyond controversy that 
Tvrone was treated with great forbearance, and that his notions of 
honour and justice, as well as his character for intelligence, sagacity, 
and education, are a little overstated by those writers who would raise 
him into a hero. Some eminent talents we must allow him, but of 
these the illustrations are yet to appear. We should not omit to add 
here, that the Irish government were at the very time of which we 
still speak, very much divided on his account. He had warm friends 
among the lords, an advantage which he well knew how to secure and 
make the most of, and which was no slight means of his long continu- 
ance in resisting the laws. There was even some dissension on his 
account between Norris and the lord-deputy, of whom the latter would 
be severe and the first indulgent. To this, among other circum- 
stances, may have been due the protracted uncertainty of his conduct. 

But although it is difficult to convey an adequate notion of Tyrone, 
without some description of the numerous repetitions of submission 
and revolt, which, however explained, form the main features of his 
history ; yet to avoid extreme tediousness, it becomes necessary to pass, 
as lightly as our task will admit, over numerous details which with 
slight changes of scene and party may all be told in the same language. 
Indeed, so far is this true, that they are not uncommonly confounded 
by those who have written the history of that period. 

In May, 1597, Russell was recalled, and Thomas lord Brough sent 
over with additional powers. It is probable that the queen was by 
this time grown discontented with Norris, whose successes did not 
keep pace with her impatience, as well as by reason of his known dis- 
position to favour the earl of Tyrone. Among the first acts of the 
new lord-deputy, was an order sending Norris to his government of 
Munster, with a strict command not to leave it without express permis- 
sion ; Norris obeyed, and shortly after died, it is said, from the effects of 
vexation and wounded pride. The change was much to the disad- 
vantage of Tyrone, who according to his wonted custom, immediately 
applied for a truce for one month. Lord Brough had resolved to dis- 
regard all such applications, which were now beginning to be clearly 
understood ; but in this instance the truce was convenient, as it would 
enable him to make his own preparations. 

When the truce was expired, lord Brough marched into the north 
and entered Tyrone. The earl attempted to intercept his passage 
through the woods near Armagh, by their ancient method of inter- 
lacing the boughs, but the English cut their way through without 
meeting any check. Arriving at the fort of Blackwater, they assaulted 
and won this important place; but they were yet on their knees 
giving thanks to God for their success, when the Irish made their ap- 
pearance on the edge of the forest. Lord Brough ordered an instant 
attack, and the brave English rushed forward into the wood, in which 
a desultory and skirmishing conflict took place. The people of Tyrone 
soon fled, but not till some valuable lives were lost. Among the 
slain were two foster-brothers of Henry, earl of Kildare, who com- 
manded a troop of horse on that occasion. Their death so grieved 
the earl that he did not long survive. 

Lord Brough had not long quitted the north, when he heard tha* 


Blackwater was again besieged by the earl of Tyrone, on which he turn- 
ed back with a resolution to march to Dungannon, but died on the way. 
He was succeeded by Sir Thomas Norris, brother to the late general, 
but he also died on his arrival in Dublin, and the lord-chancellor 
Loftus, chief-justice Gardiner, with the archbishop of Dublin, were 
entrusted as lords justices with the civil government, and the earl of 
Ormonde was appointed to the command of the army, under the title 
of lord-lieutenant of the army. On this he was immediately applied 
to by the earl of Tyrone, to obtain a commission to treat with him. 
Lord Ormonde complied, and a truce for eight weeks was agreed 
on ; this was followed by a general pardon under the great seal, ob- 
tained also by the strong intercession of Ormonde. But this pardon 
was never pleaded by Tyrone, who simply availed himself of the im- 
mediate immunity it afforded to follow the course in which he must 
now be regarded as decided ; so that, as Moryson observes, he was 
afterwards, in the year 1 600, outlawed on a previous indictment. The 
terms of this pardon were the same as those hitherto proposed, and 
were as usual with slight and fair exceptions agreed to by the earl. 

The fort of Blackwater appears to have been a subject of constant 
irritation to Tyrone, although its preservation was a chief point in all 
his treaties for pardon: though one of his main conditions was an 
agreement to supply the soldiers with provisions, and to offer them no 
indignity or impediment, yet he never lost an opportunity to molest 
them ; and an assault upon them was mostly his first step when by 
the intermission of a pardon he found all quiet. On the present occa- 
sion, he did not suffer more than two months to elapse,* before he sent 
a party to the aid of O'Byrne, the son of Feagh MacHugh O'Byrne; 
and at the same time made a violent attack on the fort of Blackwater. 
He met on this occasion a bloody repulse ; captain Williams with his 
small party of a hundred men, filled the earthen trench which sur- 
rounded them with the bodies of their bold assailants, so that they did 
not attempt to renew the assault. They then retired to a safer dis- 
tance, and surrounded the fort by strong parties so as to cut off all 
supplies, and the condition of the brave little garrison became thus 
one of the most imminent peril. For about three weeks they con- 
tinued in this trying situation, in the entire destitution of all ordinary 
means of sustaining life : fortunately for them they had a few horses in 
the fort, and with these they contrived to find some wild weeds in the 
ditch, which could be converted into food. They had eaten their 
horses, and were lying in the extremity of want, when lord Ormonde 
having heard of their condition, sent Sir Henry Bagnal to raise the 

The leader was unfortunately chosen. When Bagnal appeared at the 
head of his small force, at the entrance of the thick wood east of 
Armagh,* the hate of Tyrone was roused by the appearance of his 
deadliest enemy, and the event of the battle was suspended on the fate 
of Bagnal, against whom the earl directed his entire fury. The first 
charge decided the fight, for Bagnal fell by the hand of his enemy, and 
the usual effect took place. The few companies which he led were pauic- 

* Moryson. 



struck by the fall of their leader, and gave way. The fury of their antago- 
nists did not allow them to rally ; and first falling into confusion, they 
were scattered into groups, and suffered the most dreadful slaughter 
which had hitherto been known in the Irish wars between the English 
and Irish : fifteen hundred soldiers with thirteen captains fell. The 
fort of Blackwater was surrendered in consequence at the desire of 
the feeble remnant of the English army, who represented by their 
messengers to Williams, that it was their only hope of safety. 

This dreadful disaster was perhaps several ways decisive of the 
fate of Tyrone, and his brave companions in rebellion. It gave to 
himself and the chiefs of his party an impulse which fixed them in 
their rash and presumptuous course. It told the English queen and 
her council that the season for trifling was over; that if England was 
to rule, it should first win by force of arms. 

This victory supplied the rebel earl with arms, and thus enabled 
him to increase his force. He was on all sides congratulated by the 
insurgent spirits of Ulster, Munster, and Connaught, as the deliverer 
of his country, while universal fear seized on the English of the pale, 
and the garrisons of the queen. Moryson, speaking of the Irish 
soldiery at the time, observes, " The Irish kerne were at first rude 
soldiers, so as two or three of them were employed to discharge one 
piece, and hitherto they have subsisted especially by treacherous 
tenders of submission ; but now they are grown ready in managing 
their pieces, and bold to skirmish in bogges and woody passages, yea, 
this year and the next following, became so disastrous to the English, 
and successful in action to the Irish, as they shaked the English 
government in this kingdome, till it tottered and wanted little of fatal 

It was at this period that the Munster rebellion broke out with in- 
creased fury under James Fitz-Thomas, commonly nick-named the 
Sugan Earl. This unfortunate person, as we have already related at 
length, set up for the earldom and inheritance of Desmond, with strong 
promises of support from the earl of Tyrone, which were however very 
inadequately fulfilled. The Ulster chief having fully roused and en- 
couraged the disaffected chiefs of Munster, left them to pursue the 
sanguinary stream into which they were thus launched, and turned 
back to Tyrone. 

In the meantime, Tyrone maintained the same course of transparent 
dissembling with government. It was necessary to adapt his profes- 
sions and asseverations to the alteration of circumstances ; but he still 
continued to make applications for truces and pardons, though with 
conditions more exacting than before. It can however be scarcely 
supposed, that he looked for any further advantage than a little delay. 
This, it must be kept in mind, was, as it appeared to be, the main object. 
In common with all his countrymen, the earl was at the moment 
under the fatal delusion caused by the promises of Spain. He is 
indeed unlikely to have so far overrated the successes he had gained, 
as to imagine that they could have any effect on the English govern- 
ment, hut to elicit a vast increase of force. And such was the speedy 

* Moryson. 


consequence, though the natural result was delayed by the indiscre- 
tion and mismanagement of the earl of Essex, who was now sent 

The history and character of Essex are among the most popular 
passages of English history, and cannot need to be dwelt upon here. 
Brave, generous, ardent, and ambitious, with great talent and little 
discretion or judgment, he was in this as on other trying occasions, 
made the dupe of his more subtle enemies and rivals, and of his own pas- 
sions. His military reputation stood high, but not on any very au- 
thoritative experience ; but his personal valour was at least unquestion- 
able, and his talents specious and imposing. His enemies in the English 
court were also desirous both to send him out of the way, and to en- 
tangle him in a position where honour had been seldom gained, and 
was least of all likely to be gained by him. It was easier to impose 
on the queen than on Cecil : Essex had, in his comments on the Irish 
insurrections, which then occupied the conversation of the English 
court, shown that superficial sagacity so often to be met with in critics 
and lookers on, and strenuously insisted upon the gross error of the 
Irish lieutenants, in allowing themselves to be trifled with, and not 
striking at once at the root of all the insurrections, by the suppression 
of Tyrone. This was the sentiment of the queen and generally of the 
English court and council. It was therefore but natural, that from 
the ardent and impetuous earl, with all his bravery and cheap-won 
military character, and with all her own womanly partiality, that the 
queen should form the fond hope, that he would prosecute this tedious 
and vexatious war to an end, by pursuing a course so apparently ob- 
vious and on which he himself so strongly insisted. Under these 
auspices, the earl entered on his enterprize. 

On the 15th April, 1599> he landed in Dublin with greater powers 
and more splendid allowances than had hitherto been granted to any 
lord-lieutenant. Among these, which are detailed at great length by 
the writers of that time, we may specify the allowance of ten pounds 
a day for his pay.* On his arrival, he demanded and obtained from 
the Irish council a statement of the actual position of affairs. By this 
it is made clear as can be, that every part of the country was in total 
or partial insurrection. It was nevertheless equally apparent, that in 
these various instances of local rebellion, there was not one, the magni- 
tude or importance of which was sufficient to warrant the diversion of 
the whole or any part of the English army, from the great northern 
rebellion which was the vital centre to the whole. A few days after his 
arrival, Essex dispatched letters to England giving an account of every 
thing to the queen and council. In one of these, he states, that Tyrone 
had in his own council declared his design to be a concentration of 
all the rebels into one united power, acting under himself as its head: 
that for this purpose he was to have an army of his own in Ulster of 
6000 men, and one of 6000 under Hugh O'Donell in Connaught. He 
further informed the council, that in Munster large bodies of men had 
assembled at a public cross, to swear that they would be steadfast in 
rebellion. He added that the general sense of the rebels was to repel 

* Moryson. 




all thoughts of pardon, and that in consequence they had assumed an 
unprecedented insolence of deportment. 

Such, we believe to be, in the main, a fair statement of the circum- 
stances under which Essex thought fit, or as some suppose, suffered 
himself to be persuaded by designing persons to lay aside all his pre- 
vious opinions of the conduct of the war, and instead of marching into 
Ulster, to waste time and means upon desultory and inconsequent 
hostilities. Pursuing the very course which he had so strongly cen- 
sured, he marched into Munster and took Cahir Castle belonging to 
Edward Butler ; and collected a large plunder of cattle, without having 
any opposition to encounter, the rebels scattering at his approach and 
taking refuge in the woods. While on this expedition, however, lord 
Essex had not been remiss in taking the most effective steps to obtain 
information, and the letter which he wrote to the queen, is valuable for 
the general sketch which it presents of the real position of both parties. 
It contains also much that is characteristic of both the character and 
circumstances of the unfortunate writer. We therefore give it at 

" When this shall come to your majesties hands, I know not; but 
whensoever it hath that honour, give it leave (I humbly beseech your 
majesty) to tell you, that having now passed through the provinces of 
Leinster and Munster, and been upon the frontire of Connaught, (where 
the governour and the chiefe of the province were with me;) I dare 
begin to give your majesty some advertisement of the state of this 
kingdome, not as before by heare-say, but as I beheld it with mine 
owne eyes. The people in general have able bodies by nature, and 
have gotten by custome ready use of arms, and by their late successes 
boldnes to fight with your majesties troopes. In their pride they value 
no man but themselves, in their affections they love nothing but idle- 
nesse and licentiousnesse, in their rebellion they have no other end but 
to shake off the yoake of obedience to your majesty, and to root out all 
remembrance of the English nation in this kingdome. I say this of the 
people in generall ; for I find not onely the greater part thus affected, 
but it is a generall quarrell of the Irish, and they who do not professe 
it, are either so few or so false, that there is no accompt to be made 
of them. The Irish nobility and lords of countreys, doe not onely in 
their hearts affect this plausible quarrell, and are divided from us in 
religion, but have an especiall quarrell to the English governement, 
because it limitteth and tieth them, who ever have been and ever would 
be as absolute tyrants as any are under the sunne. The townes being 
inhabited by men of the same religion and birth as the rest, are so 
carried away with the love of gain, that for it, they will furnish the 
rebels with all things that may arme them, or inable them against the 
state or against themselves. The wealth of the kingdome, which con- 
sisteth in cattle, oate-meale, and other victuals, is almost all in the rebels' 
hands, who in every province till my comming have been masters of 
the field. The expectation of all these rebels is verv present, and very 
confident that Spaine will either so invade your majesty that you shall 
have no leisure to prosecute them here, or so succour them that they 
will get most of the townes into their hands, ere your majesty shall 



relieve or reinforce your army ; so that now if your majesty resolve 
to subdue these rebels by force, they are so many, and so framed to be 
souldiers, that the warre of force will be great, costly, and long. If 
your majesty will seeke to breake them by factions among themselves, 
they are so courteous and mercenary and must be purchased, and their 
Jesuits and practising priests must be hunted out and taken from them, 
which now doe sodder them so fast and so close together. If your 
majesty will have a strong party in the Irish nobility, and make use of 
them, you must hide from them all purpose of establishing English 
government till the strength of the Irish be so broken, that they shall 
see no safety but in your majesties protection. If your majesty will 
be assured of the possession of your townes, and keepe them from sup- 
plying the wants of the rebels, you must have garrisons brought into 
them, able to command them, and make it a capital offence for any 
merchant in Ireland to trade with the rebels, or buy or sell any armes 
or munition whatsoever. For your good subjects may have for their 
money out of your majesties store, that which shall be appointed by 
order, and may serve for their necessary defence ; whereas if once they 
be tradable, the rebels will give such extreme and excessive prices, 
that they will never be kept from them. If your majesty will secure 
this your realme from the danger of invasion, as soone as those which 
direct and mannage your majesties intelligences, give notice of the 
preparations and readinesse of the enemy, you must be as well armed 
and provided for your defence : which provision consists in having 
forces upon the coast inroled and trained ; in having magazines of 
victuall in your majesties west and north-west parts ready to be trans- 
ported; and in having ships both of warre and transportation, which 
may carry and waft them both upon the first allarum of a discent. 
.The enroling and training of your subjects, is no charge to your 
majesties owne cofers ; the providing of magazines will never be any 
losse, for in using them you may save a kingdome, and if you use them 
not you may have your old store sold (and if it be well handled) to 
your majesties profit. The arming of your majesties ships, when you 
heare your enemy armes to the sea, is agreeable to your owne provident 
and princely courses, and to the pollicy of all princes and states of the 
world. But to return to Ireland againe, as I have shewed your majesty 
the dangers and disadvantages, which your servants and ministers here 
shall and doe meete withall, in this great work of redeeming this 
kingdome; so I will now (as well as I can) represent to your majesty 
your strength and advantages. First, these rebels are neither able to 
force any walled towne, castle, or house of strength, nor to keepe any 
that they get, so that while your majesty keeps your army in strength 
and vigor, you are undoubtedly mistresse of all townes and holds 
whatsoever; by which meanes (if your majesty have good ministers) 
all the wealth of the land shall be drawne into the hands of your sub- 
jects ; your souldiers in the winter shall be easefully lodged, and readily 
supplied of any wants, and we that command your majesties forces, 
may make the warre offensive and defensive, may fight and be in safty 
as occasion is offered. Secondly, your majesties horsemen are so in- 
comparably better than the rebels, and their foot are so unwilling to 
fight in battle or grope, (^howsoever they may be desirous to skirmish 


and fight loose,) that your majesty may be alwaies mistresse of the 
champion countries, which are the best parts of this kingdome. 
Thirdly, your majesty victualling your army out of England, and with 
your garrisons burning and spoyling the countrey in all places, shall 
starve the rebel in one year, because no place else can supply them. 
Fourthly, since no warr can be made without munition, and this muni- 
tion rebell cannot have but from Spaine, Scotland, or your own townes 
here, if your majesty will still continue your ships and pinaces upon 
the coast, and be pleased to send a printed proclamation, that upon 
paine of death no merchant, townes-man, or other subject, doe trafficke 
with the rebell, or buy or sell in any sort munition or armes, I doubt 
not, but in a short time I shall make them bankerout of their old store, 
and I hope our seamen will keepe them from receiving any new. 
Fifthly, your majesty hath a rich store of gallant colonels, captains, and 
gentlemen of quality, whose example and execution is of more use 
than all the rest of your troopes. Whereas, the men of best qualitie 
among the rebels, which are their leaders and their horsemen, dare 
never put themselves to any hazard, but send their kerne and their 
hirelings to fight with your majesties troopes; so that although their 
common soldiers are too hard for our new men, yet are they not able 
to stand before such gallant men as will charge them. Sixthly, your 
majesties commanders being advised and exercised, know all advan- 
tages, and by the strength of their order, will in all great fights beate 
the rebels ; for they neither march, nor lodge, nor fight in order, but 
only by the benefit of their footmanship, can come on and go off at 
their pleasure, which makes them attend a whole day, still skirmishing, 
and never engaging themselves; so that it hath been ever the fault and 
weaknesse of your majesties leaders, wheresoever you have received 
any blow, for the rebels doe but watch and attend upon all grosse 
oversights. Now, if it please your majesty to compare your advantages 
and disadvantages together, you shall finde, that though these rebels 
are more in number than your majesties army, and have (though I doe 
unwillingly confesse it) better bodies and perfecter use of their armes, 
than those men which your majesty sends over; yet your majesty, com- 
manding the walled townes, holders, and champion countries, and hav- 
ing a brave nobility and gentry, a better discipline, and stronger order 
than they, and such meanes to keep from them the maintenance of 
their life, and to waste the countrie which should nourish them, your 
majestic may promise yourselfe that this action will (in the end) be 
successful, though costly, and that your victorie will be certaine, though 
many of us your honest servants must sacrifice ourselves in the quarrell, 
and that this kingdome will be reduced, though it will ask (besides 
cost) a great deale of care, industry, and time. But why doe I talke 
of victorie, or of successe? Is it not knowne that from England I re- 
ceive nothing but discomforts and soules wounds? Is it not spoken 
in the army that your majesties favour is diverted from me, and that 
already you do boad ill both to me and it? Is it not beleeved by the 
rebels, that those whom you favour most doe more hate me out of 
faction, then out of dutie or conscience? Is it not lamented of your 
majesties faithfullest subjects both there and here, that a Ccbham, or 
a Raleigh (I will forbeare others for their places' sake) should have 



such credit and favour with your majesty, when they wish the ill suc- 
cesse of your majesties most important action, the decay of your 
greatest strength, and the destruction of your faithfullest servants. 
Yes, yes, I see both my owne destiny, and your majesties decree, and 
doe willingly imbrace the one, and obey the other. Let me honestly 
and zealously end a wearisome life, let others live in deceitful and in- 
consistent pleasure ; let me beare the brunt and die meritoriously, let 
others achive and finish the worke, and live to erect trophies. But 
my prayer shall be, that when my soveraigne looseth mee, her army 
may not loose courage, or this kingdom want phisicke, or her dearest 
selfe misse Essex, and then I can never goe in a better time, nor in a 
fairer way. Till then, I protest before God and his angels, that I am 
a true votarie, that is sequestered from all things but my duty and my 
charge: I performe the uttermost of my bodies, mindes, and fortunes 
abilitie, and more should, but that a constant care and labor agrees 
not with my inconsistent health, in an unwholesome and uncertain 
clymate. This, is the hand of him that did live your dearest, and your 
majesties faithfullest servant, 

" ESSEX." 

In this letter there is a fair and just representation of the general 
condition of the country. It exhibits, in strong colours, the true force 
and weakness of either side the growing strength of the Irish, and 
the incredible want of the commonest forethought and activity in the 
provisions and conduct of their opponents. But, like all persons of 
unpractical understanding, the earl theorized, observed, and wasted his 
thoughts on circumstances and preliminaries, while the main fire of the 
rebellion was allowed to gather uninterrupted force ; and the queen 
was justly incensed, when, instead of receiving intelligence of some 
direct and vigorous attack on the main forces of Tyrone or O'Donell, 
she received a letter of general policy and counsel, of the greater part 
of which she was herself very sufficiently informed before she sent him 
over armed with unusual powers and at vast expense to bring the 
struggle to an issue. 

Towards the end of July he returned to Leinster, leading back an 
army broken and exhausted by weariness and sickness, and, as Mory- 
son says, " incredibly diminished in number," without having met an 
enemy, or performed any service worthy of account. During this 
nugatory expedition, a party of 600 men, rashly detached into the 
dangerous glens of Wicklow without experienced leaders, met the na- 
tural consequence of such a heedless disposition, and were routed by 
the O'Byrnes, headed by Phelim, the son of Feagh. On this unhappy 
occasion, lord Essex displayed a rigour not less pernicious than the 
feebleness of his former conduct. He disarmed and decimated the un- 
fortunate men whom he should have preserved from a disgrace for 
which he inflicted on them a punishment more justly due to himself; 
and brought their officers to court-martial, for the failure of an ex- 
pedition which should have been more prudently planned. 

He was ere long apprized of the queen's displeasure at his remiss- 
ness, on which he promised to march speedily into Ulster ; but it is 
highly probable that at the moment he felt his force to be unequal to 


the undertaking. In his reply to the queen on that occasion, he threw 
the whole blame of his conduct upon the advice of the Irish council. 
Notwithstanding this, he was compelled to a nearer expedition for the 
defence of the pale. His own remissness had, in fact, given courage 
to the lesser chiefs who dwelt around the English borders ; and the 
O'Mores and O' Conors were up in arms in Leix and Ophaly. On 
his return from an expedition, in which he met with not sufficient oppo- 
sition to add very materially to his reputation, he found his force so 
much reduced that it became necessary to apply for a reinforcement 
of a thousand men before he could proceed further. He, neverthe- 
less, as a preliminary movement, ordered Sir Conyers Clifford into 
Connaught to compel Tyrone to send a part of his troops that way. 
Sir Conyers, as we have already had occasion to relate, at length 
marched on with a small body of 1500 horse and foot until he came 
to the Curlew mountains, among the passes of which he was surprised, 
defeated, and slain, by a body of Irish under O'Ruarke. 

In the meantime the necessary reinforcements arrived from England. 
But the winter was approaching, and lord Essex was compelled to 
write to the queen, that nothing more could be done that season but 
to draw his now small forces to the north. It was late in September 
when, with 1300 foot and 300 horse, he took up a position on the 
borders of Tyrone. The rebel earl, with his army, were in sight 
ranged on the opposite hills. 

Tyrone, who was thoroughly aware of Essex's nature, seems to have 
at once decided his course of conduct, and sent him a messenger to 
request an interview. Lord Essex returned for answer, that if the 
earl of Tyrone desired to speak to him, he should be found on the 
morrow in arms at the head of his troop. The next day a slight 
skirmish took place ; but one of Tyrone's men cried out, with a loud 
voice, that the earl of Tyrone would not fight, but meet lord Essex 
unarmed and alone; and on the following day, as Essex again ad- 
vanced, he was met by Hagan, Tyrone's messenger, who declared his 
master's wish to submit to the queen, and his request that lord Essex 
would meet him at the ford of Ballycliach. The lord-lieutenant con- 
sented, and sent some persons forward to view the ford. They found 
Tyrone himself in waiting, who assured them that lord Essex and he 
could hear each other with perfect ease across the river. Lord Essex 
arrived, and the earl of Tyrone, on seeing him at the river side, 
spurred down the hill from his party, and, coming alone to the bank, 
without any hesitation, rode into the stream until the water was up to 
his knee, and saluting lord Essex, whose romantic spirit was captivated 
by this dexterous specimen of Irish frankness, they had a long conver- 
sation, which we are not enabled to detail, but which the reader of the 
foregoing pages may with sufficient probability conjecture. On the 
subject of the grievances he had endured from the Irish govern- 
ment, Tyrone's material for complaint and self-justification was too 
obvious to be neglected ; many harsh measures were to be complained 
of; much doubtful conduct explained away, or ascribed to self-defence 
against those whose design it had been to drive him to extremity ; 
much, too, could be easily distorted; and, as in all such pleadings, it 
was easy to omit all that could not be excused. The quick, but not 



profound apprehension of the rash and generous Essex could easily be 
won by such a tale told under such circumstances; and it is quite 
plain from the result that he was completely the dupe of his antago- 
nist's speciousness and his own generosity. 

The conference was for a long time carried on, to the great surprise 
of the English ; and, as some writers relate the story, Tyrone had 
come up from the river, and the two hostile leaders for some time 
continued the conversation as they rode together on the bank. This, 
if true, exhibits the indiscretion of the queen's lord-lieutenant more 
strongly than we should venture to describe it. At length Tyrone 
beckoned to his party, and his brother, Cormac, came forward, accom- 
panied by M'Guire, MacGennis, O'Quin, &c.; while lord Essex called 
the earl of Southampton, Sir Warham St Leger, Sir Edward Wingfield, 
&c., and a truce was concluded, which was to be renewed every six 
weeks, till the " calends of May,"* either party having the power to 
break it on fourteen days' notice. It was immediately after this most 
unfortunate and ill-managed, though, in some respects, inevitable trans- 
action, that Essex received from the queen the following severe and 
highly characteristic epistle : 


" Right trusty and right well beloved cosen and councellor, and 
trusty and well beloved, we greet you well. Having sufficiently declared 
unto you before this time, how little the manner of your proceedings 
hath answered either our direction or the world's expectation ; and 
finding now by your letters, by Cuffe, a course more strange, if stranger 
may be, we are doubtful what to prescribe you at any time, or what 
to build upon by your owne writings to us in any thing. For we have 
clearly discerned, of late, that you have ever to this hower possessed 
us with expectations that you would proceede as we directed you ; but 
your actions shew alwaies the contrary, though carried in such sort as 
you were sure we had no time to countermand them. 

" Before your departure no man's counsell was held sound which 
perswaded not presently the maine prosecution in Ulster all was 
nothing without that, and nothing was too much for that. This drew 
on the sudden transportation of so many thousands to be carried over 
with you, as when you arrived we were charged with more than the 
liste, or which wee resolved to the number of three hundred horse ; 
also the thousand, which were onely to be in pay during the service in 
Ulster, have been put in charge ever since the first journey. The pre- 
tence of which voyage appeareth by your letters, was to doe some 
present service in the interim, whilst the season grew more commo- 
dious for the maine prosecution, for the which purpose you did impor- 
tune, with great earnestnesse, that all manner of provisions might be 
hastened to Dublin against your returne. 

" Of this resolution to deferre your going into Ulster, you may 
well thinke that we would have made you stay, if you had given us more 
time, or if we could have imagined by the contents of your owne 
writings that you would have spent nine weekes abroad. At your re- 

* Moryson. 


turne, when a third part of July was past, and that you had understood 
our mislike of your former course, and making your excuse of under- 
taking it onely in respect of your conformitie to the council's opinion, 
with great protestations of haste into the north, we received another 
letter of new reasons to suspend that journey yet a while, and to draw 
the army into Ophalia ; the fruit whereof was no other at your 
comming home, but more relations of further miseries of your army, 
and greater difficulties to perforrne the Ulster warre. Then followed 
from you and the counsell a new demand of two thousand men, to 
which if we would assent, you would speedily undertake what we had 
so often commanded. When that was granted, and your going on- 
Avard promised by divers letters, we received by this bearer now fresh 
advertisement, that all you can doe is to goe to the frontier, and that 
you have provided onely for twentie daies' victuals. In which kind of 
proceeding wee must deale plainly with you and that counsell, that it 
were more proper for them to leave troubling themselves with instruct- 
ing us, by what rules our power and their obedience are limited, and 
to bethink them if the courses have bin onely derived from their 
counsells, how to answere this part of theirs, to traine us into a new 
expeuce for one end, and to employ it upon another; to which we could 
never have assented, if we could have suspected it would have been 
undertaken before we heard it was in action. And, therefore, wee 
doe wonder how it can be answered, seeing your attempt is not in the 
capitall traytor's countrey, that you have increased our list. But it is 
true, as wee have often said, that we are drawne on to expence by little 
and little, and by protestations of great resolutions in generalities, till 
they come to particular execution : of all which courses, whosoever 
shall examine any of the arguments used for excuse, shall find that 
your owne proceedings beget the difficulties, and that no just causes 
doe breed the alteration. If lack of numbers, if sicknesse of the 
army, be the causes, why was not the action undertaken when the 
army was in a better state? If winters approach, why were the 
summer months of July and August lost? If the spring was too 
severe, and the summer that followed otherwise spent if the harvest 
that succeeded was so neglected, as nothing hath beene done, then 
surely must we conclude that none of the foure quarters of the yeere 
will be in season for you and that counsell to agree of Tyrone's pro- 
secution, for which all our charge was intended. Further, we require 
you to consider whether we have not great cause to thinke that the 
purpose is not to end the warre, when yourself have so often told us, 
that all the petty undertakings in Leinster, Munster, and Connaught, 
are but loss of time, consumption of treasure, and waste of our people, 
until Tyrone himself be first beaten, on whom the rest depend. Doe 
you not see that he maketh the warre with us in all parts by his minis- 
ters, seconding all places where any attempts be offered? Who doth 
not see that, if this course be continued, the warres are like to spend 
us and our kingdome beyond all moderation, as well as the report of 
the successe in all parts hath blemished our honour, and encouraged 
others to no small proportion. We know you cannot so much fayle in 
judgement as not to understand that all the world seeth how time is 
dallied, though you think the allowance of that counsell, whose sub- 


scriptions are your echoes, should serve and satisfie us. How would 
you have derided any man else that should have followed your steps ? 
How often have you told us, that others which preceded you had no 
intent to end the warre? How often have you resolved us, that untill 
Loughfoyle and Ballishannin were planted, there could be no hope of 
doing service upon the capitall rebels ? We must, therefore, let you 
know, that as it cannot be ignorance, so it cannot be want of meanes, 
for you had your asking you had choice of times you had power 
and authority more ample than ever any had, or ever shall have. It 
may well be judged with how little contentment wee search out this 
and other errors ; for who doth willingly seeke for that which they 
are so loth to find but how should that be hidden which is so pal- 
pable ? And, therefore, to leave that which is past, and that you may 
prepare to remedy matters of weight hereafter, rather than to fill your 
papers with many impertinent arguments, being in your generall letters, 
savouring still, in many points, of humours that concerne the private 
of you our lord-liefetenant, we doe tell you plainly, that are of that 
counsell, that we wonder at your indiscretion, to subscribe to letters 
which concerne our publike service when they are mixed with any 
man's private, and directed to our counsell table, which is not to handle 
things of small importance. 

" To conclude, if you will say though the army be in list twenty 
thousand, that you have them not, we answer then to our treasurer, 
that we are ill served ; and that there need not so frequent demands of 
full pay. If you will say the muster-master is to blame, we much 
muse then why he is not punished, though say we might to you 
our generall, if we would ex fuere proprio judicare, that all defects 
by ministers, yea though in never so remote garrisons, have been 
affirmed to us, to deserve to be imputed to the want of care of 
the generall. For the small proportion you say you carry with 
you of three thousand five hundred foot, when lately we augmented 
you two thousand more, it is to us past comprehension, except it 
be that you have left still too great numbers in unnecessary gar- 
risons, which doe increase our charge, and diminish your army, which 
we command you to reform, especially since you, by your continual 
reports of the state of every province, describe them all to be in 
worse condition than ever they were before you set foote in that 
kingdom. So that whosoever shall write the story of this yeere's 
action, must say that we were at great charges to hazard our kingdom, 
and you have taken great paines to prepare for many purposes which 
perish without understanding. And therefore, because we see now 
by your own words, that the hope is spent of this year's service upon 
Tyrone and O'Donell, we do command you and our counsell to fall 
into present deliberation, and thereupon to send us over in writing a 
true declaration of the state to which you have brought our kingdome, 
and what be the effects which this journey hath produced, and why 
these garrisons which you will plant farre within the land in Brenny 
and Monaghan, as others, whereof we have written, shall have the 
same difficulties. 

" Secondly, we looke to hear from you and them jointly, how you 
think the remainder of this year shall be employed ; in what kind of 



warre, and where, and in what numbers ; which being done, and sent 
us hither in writing 1 with all expedition, you shall then understand our 
pleasure in all things fit for our service ; until which time we command 
you to be very careful to meet with all inconveniences that may arise 
in that kingdom where the ill-affected will grow insolent upon our ill 
success, and our good subjects grow desperate when they see the best 
of our preserving them. 

" We have scene a writing, in forme of a cartel, full of challenges 
that are impertinent, and of comparisons that are needless, such as 
hath not been before this time presented to a state, except it be done 
now to terrify all men from censuring your proceedings. Had it not 
bin enough to have sent us the testimony of the counsell, but that you 
must call so many of those that are of slender experience,' and none of 
our counsell to such a form of subscription. Surely howsoever you 
may have warranted them, wee doubt not but to let them know what 
belongs to us, to you, and to themselves. And thus expecting your 
answer wee ende, at our manor of Nonsuch, the fourteenth of Sep- 
tember, in the one and fortieth yeere of our raigne, 155 9-" 

The effect of this letter was the return of lord Essex to complete 
his tragic history in England. Of this the particulars are known to 
every one. He left Loftus, archbishop of Dublin, and Sir George 
Carew lords justices, and departed in the latter end of September. 

The truce had been entered into by Tyrone, as one of those ordinary 
expedients by which he contrived to gain time, without sacrificing the 
least consideration of his own intentions, and was only, therefore, to 
be observed till he thought fit to break it. Nor was this powerful 
rebel without encouragement from the foreign enemies of England, 
who communicated aid or incentive, according to their characters and 
the nature of their designs. From the Pope he received a crown of 
Phoenix plumes, the worthy reward of the champion of the Roman 
see. The king of Spain sent him the less doubtful gift of a sum of 
money, and a promise of a further supply. He came in consequence to 
the resolution to renew the war, and easily found a pretext to evade 
the stipulation of notice : at the same time, he took the title of O'Niall. 
In January he made the expedition already noticed into Munster, to 
spirit up the Sugan earl of Desmond, and returned after having suc- 
cessfully stirred up the southern districts to insurrection. 

The queen had formerly designed to send over Charles Blount, lord 
Mountjoy, as lord-lieutenant to Ireland; but was deterred by the re- 
presentations of lord Essex, who was desirous to secure for himself a 
post which promised a quick and cheap- won harvest of military honour: 
with the usual good faith of courtiers, he represented the small mili- 
tary experience, the bookish character, the narrow income of his 
friend ; and thus succeeded in his object. But in the moment of dis- 
grace, his motives were correctly weighed, and lord Mountjoy was 
now selected by the queen, and landed, together with Sir George 
Carew, at Howth, on 14th February. 

He was but a short time in the country when he perceived the errors 
of his predecessors, and formed a plan of operation, which though at 
first difficult to be carried into effect, had the merit of skilful and judi- 
cious adaptation to the nature of the country, and the habits of the 



enemy to be opposed. The English troops had latterly been discour- 
aged by the successes of the Irish, as well as by their peculiar mode of 
warfare, which for the most part consisted in surprise, and ambus- 
cade, and all the various stratagems of savage war, for which their 
wild rude confusion of morass and mountain, ravine and forest, afforded 
peculiar advantage : their tactics accommodated to these local circum- 
stances, were as skilful in the bog and wood as those of the English 
upon the open field. Against these difficulties lord Mountjoy meditated 
to commence by cautious operations, of which, for some time, the 
object should rather be to avoid defeat than to look for victory. 
Another disadvantage was the desultory and scattered character 
of the war. The Irish chiefs marching in all directions through 
the kingdom, moving insurrectionary feeling wherever they came 
committing depredations, and gaining advantages, which, though 
severally slight, were aggregately of importance, both as they were 
thus enabled to force the chiefs to unite with them, and also to divide 
the English force into detachments ; and by preventing all decisive 
movements to draw out the war indefinitely. To counteract this, lord 
Mountjoy planned a circle of garrisons to confine the operations of 
the principal chiefs, and prevent their junctions and escapes. With 
this view he placed garrisons in Dundalk, Atherdee, Kells, Newry, 
and Carlingford, and left Sir Philip Lambert with a thousand men to 
watch the pale. He was himself, in the meantime, to encounter the 
rebellion at its head, and lead his army to watch Tyrone in the north. 
When lord Mountjoy landed in Ireland, the earl of Tyrone was on 
his visit to Munster. Of this fact the new lord-deputy was apprized, 
and active steps were taken to cut off his return. Though he had 
with him a force of five thousand men, it was yet thought that without 
the Ulstermen, in whom the whole force of the rebellion consisted, he 
could not become seriously formidable. Under these circumstances 
Tyrone's position was one of more danger than he himself suspected : 
the laxity of precaution, the total want of plan, and the facility to 
enter into illusory treaties and truces, which had hitherto so fatally 
protracted the operations of government, had enabled this alert and 
sagacious partizan to do as he pleased, and almost unobstructedly to 
organize the scattered elements of insurrection. To have, under these 
circumstances, anticipated his danger, would have been to anticipate 
a change in the management of affairs, which as yet lay concealed in 
the contriver's breast. Lord Mountjoy saw at once the importance 
of the incident, and sent directions accordingly to the earl of 
Ormonde, who lost no time in making the best dispositions to shut 
up the roads by which the return of the rebel earl could be effected. 
These efforts were nevertheless frustrated by the great difficulty of 
obtaining intelligence and of moving the Irish barons to efficient 
effort. Though encompassed by the earls of Ormonde and Thomond, 
and by the commissions of the forces in Munster with the mayor of 
Limerick on one coast, and the mayor of Galway on another, to 
watch their respective posts Tyrone made his way good and conducted 
his followers, without obstruction, through the hostile ring; and when 
Mountjoy received intelligence that he was encompassed on every side, 
he was already on the frontier of Ulster. 


The Irish chiefs through Ireland who were connected with Tyrone, 
received the greatest discouragement from this forced march. It ma- 
nifested the weakness which hitherto had been concealed, and materially 
abated the confidence generally inspired by the ease with which he 
had till then trifled with the English administration. His escape on 
this occasion too much resembled the flight of a discomfited chief. 
At the end of a forced march, when he had just settled in his quarters 
for the night, he heard of the advance of the lord-deputy, on which he 
roused his weary soldiers and again immediately marched away, leaving 
behind those who could not save themselves by speed from the advanced 
guard of the enemy. In this incident appears another of the great 
advantages of the prudence of Mountjoy. He had noticed that one of 
the main causes of former failures was the quick intelligence by which 
the rebel chiefs were enabled to anticipate all the movements of the 
English forces; and he had already, in one of his letters, noticed that 
the Irish chiefs were almost all secretly disaffected, so that there was 
a rapid diffusion of this intelligence through the whole country : and 
thus it was enough to frustrate the best concerted plan if it was allowed 
to transpire but a few hours before execution. To the observation of 
this, and the strict secrecy by which it was counteracted, lord Mount- 
joy's successes were as much due as to any other cause. 

In sending an account of Tyrone's escape, the lord-deputy trans- 
mitted also several of his intercepted dispatches, one of which may 
assist the reader's conception of this extraordinary person and his 

" O'Neale commendeth him unto you Morish Fitz-Thomas. O'Neale 
requesteth you in God's name to take part with him, and fight for 
your conscience and right; and in so doing O'Neale will spend to see 
you righted in all your affairs, and will help you : and if you come not 
at O'Neale betwixt this and to-morrow at 1 2 of the clock and take his 
part, O'Neale is not beholding to you; and will do to the uttermost of 
his power to overthrow you, if you come not at farthest by Saturday 
at one. From Knock Dumayne in Calrie, the 4th of February, 1599 
(P. S.) O'Neale requesteth you to come speake with him, and doth give 
yitu his word that you shall receive no harm, neither in coming from, 
whether you be friend or not, and bring with you O'Neale Gerat 

Subscribed " O'NEALE."* 

On the 15th of February, Tyrone reached his castle at Dungannon, 
and called a meeting of the lords of the north to consult how the pro- 
jected settlement of the English at Loughfoyle might best be pre- 

It was at this time, in the month of April, that the earl of Ormonde 
was taken prisoner at a conference with MacRory, (as shall be related,) 
in such a manner as to lead to some unjust suspicions that he had a 
private understanding with the rebels. 

On the 5th of May lord Mountjoy advanced into the north, both to 

* Moryson. 



confine the operations of Tyrone, and to protect the settlement of the 
garrisons of Loughfoyle. When he arrived at Newry, he learned tha,t 
the rebel earl had turned from Loughfoyle on receiving information 
of his advance; and that, having razed the old fort at Blackwater and 
burned Armagh, he had occupied the strong fastness of Loughlucken, 
where he entrenched himself strongly, and fortified a space of nearly 
three miles in extent. A chief object of Tyrone was to prevent the 
junction of the earl of Southampton with the deputy; for which pur- 
pose he had taken means to obtain information of the time when 
he was expected. As this was the way by which he must needs arrive, 
there was every hope of his being cut off in this most dangerous pass. 
Mountjoy had heard of the inquiries of the rebels, and had foreseen 
the danger; to meet it he drew toward the pass, and detached captain 
Blany with 500 foot and 50 horse with orders to secure a safe position 
on the road, and send to hasten the movements of Southampton. 
Blany, leaving his foot at the Faghard, took on his horse and reached 
the earl, whom he informed of the nature and objects of Tyrone's 
position, and told him that the deputy would await him on the same 
day at two o'clock, at the road of Moyry, at the place where the 
danger lay. 

In the midst of this dangerous pass there was a ford, called the 
Four-mile-water, surrounded on every side with woods. Here Tyrone 
posted a strong body of men, who filled these woods on either side. 
Beyond, on a neighbouring hill, lord Mountjoy lay with his troops. 
To reach them it was essential to clear this passage of danger. South- 
ampton accordingly advanced, and captain Blany, dividing his men 
into three companies, went into the river, and crossed the ford, when 
they saw the enemy awaiting them, and placed to great advantage. On 
this the English charged, and the lord-deputy at the same moment ap- 
peared advancing from the opposite side. After a few discharges of 
musquetry, the Irish gave way, and, passing through the thickets, 
reached the other side, at the rear of Southampton's party. Captain 
Blany then posted himself to the right, so as to cover the passage of 
the carriages ; and the lord-deputy, pressing into the woods on the left, 
occupied the rebels in a hot skirmish, till all were safely over the pass. 
Repelled on each side, the rebels made next an impetuous attack on 
lord Southampton's rear, but were soon repulsed; and the English, 
having thus completely cleared this dangerous pass, were ordered by 
the deputy to march on. It will be needless to remark to the intelli- 
gent reader, that this was one of those perilous occasions in which the 
English had latterly met with the most fatal repulses, by trusting too 
much to that superiority of arms, which had, till of late, rendered 
tactics a matter of less essential moment. The Irish, at all times for- 
midable in this war of bogs and fastnesses, were now become alarm- 
ingly so, from the advantages of arms and discipline, which, under a 
leader like Tyrone, had seriously reduced the odds against them. 
During this transaction, the earl was himself stationed, with a more 
considerable force, at a little distance, to wait the moment of advan- 
tage, and seize on the indiscretion of the enemy; but it is one of the 
proofs (if the skill and coolness of Mountjoy that no such occasion 
presented itself. Many were slain on both sides. 

I. 2 M Jr. 


Lord Mountjoy now drew off his forces, and returned to Newry. 
Here he received intelligence which rendered his presence necessary in 
Leinster, and also the satisfactory information that his garrisons at 
Loughfoyle were settled ; in that quarter, his captains, under Sir 
Arthur Chichester, governor of Carrickfergus, had taken possession 
of Newcastle from O'Doherty, whose country they wasted ; he was 
also apprized that they were occupied in fortifying about Derry, and 
that great numbers of rebels had passed, with their cattle and goods, 
into Scotland, from whence it was their hope to obtain aid. It became 
also apparent that the northern rebels were beginning to be shaken 
in their confidence by these vigorous and systematic regulations, and 
were either returning, or affecting to return, to their loyalty. 

In May the lord-deputy, leaving the north thus shut in, returned to 
Dublin, to make effectual dispositions for the security of the pale. Of 
the transactions in this quarter we cannot here say much without un- 
warrantable digression. While in Leinster, the lord-deputy had to 
contend with the usual confusions of petty interests the cabals and 
misrepresentations of all who did not comprehend the interest of the 
country, or had their own to press ; he wrote to the secretary a fair 
and full exposition of the situation of affairs, and of the progress he 
had made. It was indeed important. Having complained that he 
found it would be an easier undertaking to subdue the rebels than to 
govern the English subjects, he stated, that having found the army 
completely disorganized, he had given it form and combination ; it 
was disheartened, and he had raised its drooping and desponding spirit 
into courage and military ardour ; he had preserved it from all dis- 
grace, and restored its reputation, on which so much must depend ; and 
that it was now by these means disposed once more to undertake, and 
likely to perform, services of an arduous and extensive character. He 
also mentioned that the hope of foreign succour was the main reliance 
of the Irish rebels ; and entreated that unless the English government 
had some sure information that no assistance was to be sent over from 
Spain, that they would strengthen his army with reinforcements, which 
must be necessary should the Spaniards come over, and which, should 
they not, would soon end the rebellion. To guard against that danger 
he requested that some English vessels of war should be stationed off 
the north-western coast ; while a few small sail boats could easily inter- 
cept all attempts to bring over ammunition from Scotland. 

In the meantime Tyrone was nearly reduced to inactivity by the 
military circle which watched his movements in the north. Several 
small attempts, which were probably designed to try the way, were 
made, and failed. Lord Mountjoy was thus enabled to give his atten- 
tion to the troubles of the pale ; and his efforts were much required. 
In the districts of Carlow and Kildare, into which he led 560 men, 
he met with rough resistance, and had a horse shot under him in a 
skirmish, in which thirty-five of the rebels were killed. 

On the 14th of September, the lord-deputy again turned his faqe to 
the north. Among the many improvements he had introduced, a prin- 
cipal one was the disregard of weather or season. The climate of 
Ireland, since then ameliorated by the cutting away of its forests, the 
draining of marshes, and perhaps by many other causes 9 was then far 


more severe than will now be readily conceived. Against such an evil 
the English might be secured by expedients, but the habits of the 
natives were such as to admit of far less resource; neither their imper- 
fect clothing, nor their methods of supply or of encampment wera 
suited to afford any adequate provision to meet the hardships, priva- 
tions, and exigencies of a winter campaign. 

On the 15th, lord Mountjoy again put his troops into motion, he 
encamped on the hill of Faghard, three miles beyond Dundalk, and 
lay there till the 9th of October; during which time he lived in a 
tent which was kept wet by the continual rain, and frequently blown 
down by the equinoctial tempests. Not far off lay Tyrone in the fast- 
ness of the Moyrigh, strongly entrenched as well by art as by the 
nature of the place. The difficulty of these positions, and the skill of 
Tyrone's defence, are well illustrated by the pass which Mountjoy 
describes as " one of the most difficult passages of Ireland, fortified 
with good art and admirable industry." Tyrone availing himself of 
a natural chain of impassable heights and marshy hollows, connected 
them by broad and deep trenches, flanked with strong and high piles 
built with massive rocks, and stockaded with close and firm pallisades. 
These well-contrived impediments were protected by forces numeri- 
cally stronger than those which could be opposed to them ; and were 
rendered additionally effective by the great rains which flooded the 
streams and quagmires, and contracted the lines of defence to a few 
dangerous points. For some time there were almost daily skirmishes 
in which the English had mostly the advantage ; till at last lord 
Mountjoy ordered an attack on their entrenchments, which being for 
two days successfully followed up, Tyrone evacuated the fastness, and 
reluctantly left a clear road for the English general, who immediately 
levelled the trenches, and caused the woods on each side of this dan- 
gerous pass to be cut down : and passing through with his army came 
on to Newry, where he was for some time detained for want of provi- 
sions; but, in the beginning of November, was enabled to proceed to 
Armagh. In the neighbourhood of Armagh lay Tyrone, entrenched 
amid the surrounding bogs with a skill not be countervailed by all 
the prudence and tact of his antagonist. Many skirmishes took place, 
but nothing of a decisive character seemed likely soon to occur. 

It would be entering farther into detail than our space allows to 
trace with a minute pen the numerous slight encounters, the petty 
negotiations with minor chiefs, the captures, the cessions, or the par- 
dons and proclamations which fill the interval of many months. If 
we would compare the conduct of the two eminent individuals who 
are prominently before us, the skill and talent of each must appear to 
great advantage. Each was pressed by trying difficulties of no ordinary 
kind in Irish warfare. Tyrone, cooped in within the mountains and 
marshes of the north by a system of military positions hitherto unknown 
in Ireland, constrained and checked on every side, could not still be 
hurried into any imprudence, or forced into any risk by the vigilant 
and skilful leader who had succeeded in thus controlling and isolating 
the turbulent elements of a national insurrection, which had hitherto 
baffled the power of England. Mountjoy had not only thus constrained 
the efforts of a dangerous foe; but the means by which he had effected 


this purpose had another equally important operation. One of the most 
prevailing causes of failure had hitherto arisen from the tardy, expen- 
sive, and exposed operation of marching an army from place to place, 
by which it was impossible to act with the secrecy necessary to prevent 
every movement from being foreseen and guarded against, nor to accom- 
modate the marches of so expensive an instrument to the more rapid 
and unencumbered marches of an enemy that seemed to start up with an 
endless growth in every quarter. Instead of this, by the efficient 
distribution of his forces in those ' stationary points from which they 
could with facility be collected, Mountjoy was enabled to traverse 
the country in person by journeys comparatively rapid and with a force 
comparatively small; so that an expedition involved little more prepa- 
ration, publicity, or expense than the journey of an individual. By 
this he soon contrived to pacify or awe into submission every county 
but Tyrone. The rebel earl still held his ground, and fencing off the 
operations of his antagonist with skill and courage, awaited patiently 
the expected aid from Spain. 

The situation of Tyrone was however becoming monthly more haz- 
ardous and distressing. Governing his motions with the most consum- 
mate tact, so as to avoid the hazard of an action, he could not yet avoid 
a frequent repetition of skirmishes in which his men were uniformly 
worsted. Of these the effect was doubly hurtful to his strength; it 
gave confidence to the enemy, and caused an extensive falling off of the 
Irish chiefs, who presently began to sue for pardons and offer sub- 
missions in every quarter. A skirmish near Carlingford, in the iniddle 
of November, 1600, gradually increasing to a battle, was considered 
to have first given this dangerous turn to his affairs, and awakened a 
general conviction that he could not hold out through the winter : 
and this general impression is amply confirmed by all the informa- 
tion we have been enabled to attain. The lord-deputy was contracting 
the circle of his operations; he was fast reducing Tyrone's means of 
subsistence by laying waste his country, while, with a view to this 
expedient, he had arranged to be supplied from England with sus- 
tenance for the garrisons. Lastly, and most to be dreaded, another 
part of lord Mountjoy's plan was becoming fast apparent the resolution 
not to intermit his operations during the winter. It becomes, indeed, a 
matter of curious and interesting speculation to witness the obstinate 
perseverance under such apparently hopeless circumstances, of a chief 
so sagacious as Tyrone; but this apparent state of things was softened 
by many illusory circumstances of which the entire force could not then 
be felt: no sagacity is equal to the full interpretation of a conjuncture 
wholly new. The surrounding districts had begun to show signs of 
weariness, and numerous chiefs despairing of the prospects of rebellion 
had submitted ; but Tyrone was aware that the submission of an Irish 
chief was but a subterfuge in danger, and that the slightest gleam of a 
favourable change would rouse rebellion from province to province with 
simultaneous vigour and effect. He had seen and felt the capricious 
relaxation of the queen's anger, after the heaviest denunciations, on 
the slightest seemings of submission. Such had been the history of 
Ireland for centuries ; and he confidently expected supplies and aid 
from Spain, which should be enough to turn the scale in his favour. 


and, at the least, restore him to a condition to treat on more advan- 
tageous terms for pardon. 

In the commencement of 1601, when M'Guire, with many other 
powerful Irish chiefs, had submitted, when many had taken arms for 
the English, and when the Minister rebellion had been completely put 
down ; reports of the promised succour from Spain became more 
frequent, and various accounts were transmitted from her majesty's 
foreign ministers, of definite preparations on the part of Spain, for 
the equipment and transport of forces destined for Ireland. On this 
subject, the chiefs also who came in for pardon had all their facts to 
tell. Hugh Boy informed Sir Henry Dockwra that the king of Spain 
had promised to invade Ireland in the course of the year, with 6000 
men, who were to be landed in some Munster port. Every week 
confirmed these reports with fresh intelligence from Calais and from 
Flanders. In Waterford some seamen made their depositions that 
they were recently pressed into the service of the king of Spain, and 
sent to Lisbon with bread for 3000 men who were lying there to be 
shipped for Ireland. They added the report, that an agent from 
Tyrone was then at the Spanish court, who represented that his master 
could subsist no longer without speedy aid. 

Matters were still advancing by a tedious progress to a termination, 
which must have appeared to depend entirely on the truth of these last 
mentioned reports. Lord Mountjoy's operations had the purpose and 
intent hitherto rather of shutting in the rebel earl, of compelling him 
to exhaust his resources, and of drawing away all hope of assistance 
from the Irish chiefs, than any direct design of bringing him to action. 
The result of the most complete defeat could not have had the desired 
effect, until the resources of Tyrone should be thus broken down, so 
as to allow no hope of being enabled again to collect an army. It is 
for this reason that although this peculiar warfare was productive of 
numerous incidents, they are seldom such as to warrant detail. Scarcely 
a movement could anywhere be made, but the first wood approached 
poured out a sudden volley from its invisible marksmen, or the rude 
ligures were seen rapidly appearing and disappearing among the leafy 
concealments. Amongst these incidents, we may select some, rather 
lor specimens than as carrying on our narration. For this purpose 
we extract a page of Mory son's Itinerary on the 13th and 16th of 
July, 1601. Moryson was brother to Sir Richard Morysou, then 
serving under Mountjoy, and afterwards vice-president of Munster: 
he was himself a fellow of the Universitv of Cambridge, from which 
lie had leave to travel for three years ; at the end of which term he 
resigned his fellowship to come to Ireland, where he was made secre- 
tary to lord Mountjoy, and thus became both the eye-witness and 
historian of this war. 

" The 1 6th day the lord-deputy drew out a regiment of Irish, com- 
manded by Sir Christopher St Laurence, and passing the Blackwater, 
marched to Benburb, the old house of Shane O'Neale, lying on the 
left hand of our camp, at the entrance of Great Wood. Their 
out men made a stand, in a faire greene meadow, having our camp 
and the plaiues behind them, and the wood on both sides and before 
them. The rebels drew in great multitudes to these woods. Here 



we in the campe, being ourselves in safety, had the pleasure to have 
the full view of an hot and long skirmish, our loose wings sometimes 
beating the rebels on all sides into the woods, and sometimes being 
driven by them back to our colours in the middest of the meadow, 
where as soone as our horse charged, the rebels presently ran backe, 
this skirmish continuing with like varietie some three howers ; for 
the lord-deputie, as he saw the numbers of the rebels encrease, so 
drew other regiments out of the campe to second the fight. So that 
at last the rebell had drawne all his men together, and we had none 
but the by-guards left to save-guard the campe, all the rest being 
drawne out. Doctor Latwar, the lord-deputies chaplaine, not content 
to see the fight with us in safetie, (but as he had formerly done) 
affecting some singularitie of forwardnesse, more than his place re- 
quired, had passed into the meadow where our colours stood, and there 
was mortally wounded with a bullet in the head, upon which he died 
next day. Of the English not one more was slaine, onely captaine 
Thomas Williams, his legge was broken, and two other hurt, but of 
the Irish on our side, twenty sixe were slaine, and seventy-five were 
hurt. And those Irish being such as had been rebels, and were like 
upon the least discontent to turne rebels, and such as were kept in 
pay rather to keepe them from taking part with the rebels than any 
service they could doe us, the death of those unpeaceable swordsmen, 
though falling on our side, yet was rather gaine than losse to the 
commonwealth. Among the rebels, Tyrone's secretary, and one 
chiefe man of the O'Hagans, and (as we credibly heard) farre more 
than two hundred kerne were slaine. And lest the disparitie of losses 
often mentioned by me should savour of a partiall pen, the reader 
must know, that besides the fortune of the warre turned on our side 
together with the courage of the rebels abated, and our men heartened 
by successes, we had plentie of powder, and sparing not to shoote at 
randome, might well kill many more of them, than they ill-furnished 
of powder, and commanded to spare it, could kill of ours."* 

At the time of the last incident, the lord-deputy was engaged in 
rebuilding the important fortress of Blackwater, which appears to 
have so long been a main object of contest, as it was the key to Dun- 
gannon, the hitherto inaccessible stronghold and dwelling of Tyrone. 
To this latter position therefore the earliest attention of both parties 
was at the time bent Mountjoy to approach, and Tyrone to defend 
it. Meanwhile, the English were mainly engaged in cutting down the 
corn in every quarter round the county, and in preparing their garri- 
sons for the winter's war. They performed these important operations 
in tranquillity ; so much had fallen the courage of the Irish, who now 
began to be sensible that the skirmishes in which they had so freely 
indulged, were productive of no advantage save to their enemy. This 
desultory warfare was not however felt to lead to results as decisive 
as the lord-deputy looked for with considerable anxiety, at a time when 
his already insufficient means of prolonging the war, and the slowness 
and scantiness of his supplies made progress, of more than ordinary im- 
portance. There was little to be effected against an enemy which melted 

* Moryeon. 



away like mists before the attack, yet still ever hovered round to watch 
for the moment of advantage, and render every movement harassing if 
not insecure. The principal objects were to obtain possession of their 
fastnesses and lurking-places, and to scatter and dissolve them by de- 
priving them of the means of subsistence; for this, it was the imme- 
diate aim of lord Mountjoy to cut down their corn, which he took all 
possible means to effect. Nor was there any great obstacle to be feared, 
except immediately about Dungannon, to which the English could 
not approach. But lord Mountjoy had by considerable diligence 
discovered a new pass to Dungannon, to facilitate which he cut down 
a large wood, which opened the way over a plain at the distance of 
about four miles. By this means he reached a river, on which by 
building a bridge and fort, he expected to obtain complete possession 
of Tyrone's country; or, as he represents in his letter to the council, 
'' that this would cut the archtraytor's throat ;" and in another letter 
to Cecil, " that if we can but build a fort, and make a passage over 
the river, we shall make Dungannon a centre, whither we may from 
all parts draw together all of her Majesty's forces." 

The progress of this desultory state of affairs now became embar- 
rassed by additional difficulties. The report of the intended invasion 
from Spain, while yet uncertain as to its force and destination, became 
an object of alarm; to meet this fear, Mountjoy was urged to draw off 
a large portion of his troops towards the south, where their landing 
was apprehended. Against such a course he strongly protested, ob- 
serving that the landing-place of the Spaniards could be by no means 
certain, and that he might find himself as far from the point of danger 
wherever he should march to, as where he was then stationed. His 
troops he observed were not 1500 effective men, with which he might 
easily retain the positions of which he was then possessed, and pro- 
secute the advantage they gave him. He thought that if he should 
succeed in completely breaking down Tyrone's strength, which he ex- 
pected to effect during the winter, that the king of Spain should not 
have it in his power to cause any very dangerous disturbance in Ireland.* 

But while the lord-deputy was thus industriously engaged in ar- 
rangements to prosecute to an end the war against Tyrone, the 
rumours of the Spanish invasion began to grow still more frequent, and 
to assume more the character of certainty ; and as all indications seemed 
pointing to the south, it became a question of no small moment and 
perplexity to provide against the new emergency, without relinquish- 
ing the advantages which had been gained in Ulster. Should the 
Spaniards land in any of the harbours along the south-western coast, 
the motions of Tyrone would obtain increased importance; and it 
could not but appear in a high degree dangerous to relax the military 
chain, by which he was confined to the north. The real strength of 
the English army was hardly equal to these multiplied emergencies- 
the demand of numerous garrisons and the waste of war had been too 
much supplied by Irish soldiers. The expenses allowed for the supply 
of the army and forts had been exceeded, and all arrangements were 
carried into effect against every conceivable disadvantage. 

* Mountjoy's letter to Sir Robert Cecil. 


To make the best of these untoward circumstances the lord- 
deputy resolved to strengthen his garrisons, and provide effectually for 
the safety of Ulster ; and then to lead the rest of his army into Con- 
naught, and to hold a council on the way at Trim. With this view he 
applied to the English council to forward the necessary succours and 
provisions to Gal way and Limerick; and to send a good supply of arms 
and ammunition to the garrisons of Ulster, that they might be preserved 
for the protection of the north, and be found in a fit condition for his 
summer campaign in that quarter. In the same communication, the 
lord-deputy informs the council, that many of his Irish captains had 
shown signs of wavering in consequence of the reports of the Spaniards ; 
and that they had received from Tyrone the most urgent messages, 
assuring them that if they should further delay to join him, it would 
be too late, and he would refuse them after a very little. Notwith- 
standing which, some of them assured the lord-deputy of their fidelity, 
though their condition in his army was, in his own words, " no better 
than horseboys."* 

On the 29th, Lord Mountjoy arrived at Trim, and a council was 
held, of which it was the chief object to provide for the defence of the 
pale, to molest which the rebel earl had sent captain Tyrrel, a par- 
tisan leader of great celebrity at the time. To meet this danger it 
was resolved to strengthen the Leinster troops with such forces as 
could be spared from the Ulster army: and the lord-deputy deter- 
mined to conduct them in person, until the landing of the Spaniards 
should be ascertained. This event was not now long a matter of 

On the third of September, letters from Sir Robert Cecil informed 
the lord-deputy that the Spanish fleet had appeared off Scilly, to the 
number of forty-five vessels, of which seventeen were men-of-war, and 
the remaining vessels of large burthen, containing 6000 soldiers. In 
the same letter, the lord-deputy was desired to demand whatsoever 
forces and supplies should appear to be needful, and direct the places 
to which they should be sent. 

The full confirmation of the arrival of the Spaniards speedily 
followed. The lord-deputy was in Kilkenny, whither he had gone to 
consult with Sir George Carew and the earl of Ormonde, when he 
received the account that their fleet had entered the harbour of Kin- 
sale, by letters from Sir George Wilmot and the mayor of Cork. On 
this information, the lord -deputy resolved to meet them with all the force 
he could muster from every quarter ; justly considering, that on their 
fate must depend the entire result of the war. He accordingly sent 
to draw off the companies from Armagh, Navan, and the pale, into 
Munster: and, accompanied by the lord-president Carew, he travelled 
thither with all speed. He soon ascertained that the Spaniards which 
had taken possession of Kinsale, were 5000 men under the command 
of Don Juan D'Aguila; and that they had brought with them a large 
supply of arms, as the provision for a general rising of the people, 
which they had been led to expect; they had also 1500 saddles for 
their cavalry; and expressed an intention not to keep within their 

* Lord Mountjoy 's letter. Moryson. 


fortifications, but to meet the English in the field. Among other 
steps, they sent out a friar, with bulls and indulgences from the pope, 
to stir up the people in every quarter. They also caused the report 
to be spread that their number amounted to 10,000, with 2000 more, 
which had been, separated from the fleet, and were since landed at 

On his arrival, the Spanish commander sent back all his ships but 
twelve a step which strongly marks the confidence of his expectations. 
He despatched messengers to Tyrone and O'Donell. to urge their 
speedy approach, and demanded a supply of horses, and of cattle for 
provision, assuring them that he had other stores sufficient for eighteen 
months, and treasure in abundance. He also sent out his emissaries 
into every quarter to secure the assistance of mercenary bands and 
partisan leaders, soldiers of fortune whose entire dependence was the 
sword a class then numerous in Ireland. The confidence of the 
English commander was no less, but he was still dependent on the 
speed and efficiency of the supplies and reinforcements for which he 
had applied. These had not yet reached him from Dublin, but it 
was plain that further delay was dangerous; and on the 16th October, 
without his artillery, ammunition, or provision, he marched from Cork, 
and on the 17th instant arrived at Kinsale, and encamped under the 
hill of Knockrobin, within half a mile of the town. Here they lay for 
some days, unable to execute any military operation, from the want 
of implements and artillery. 

During this time several skirmishes took place, in all of which the 
Spaniards were worsted and driven within their walls. In the letter 
in which these circumstances are reported by the lord-deputy, it 
strongly appears how much anxious suspense must have attended such 
a situation. The seemingly premature advance of an army thus un- 
provided, was hurried on by the apprehension of the effect which their 
inaction might produce on the Irish of Munster. The rising of the 
uncertain multitude of the surrounding districts, who watched all that 
passed with no uninterested eye, the arrival of Tyrone, and what they 
still more feared, of fresh supplies from Spain, might any or all of 
them happen while the English lay at this heavy disadvantage. To 
these embarrassing considerations may be added, that in point of fact, 
the Spaniards within the town were stronger in numbers and ap- 
pointments of every kind, with every advantage also that could be 
derived from their possession of a strong town and of the castle of 
Rincorran on the other side of the harbour. Were they to make one 
vigorous effort, and to succeed in breaking through the lines of the 
little army that lay before them, without any means of resistance but 
the personal bravery of its ranks, the odds must from that moment 
become incalculably great in their favour ; the possession of a few 
towns would have raised all Ireland in their support; and it is not 
easy to see by what means short of an army of thirty thousand men 
and a re-conquest of the island, the consequences could be retrieved. 
The English army, besides its unarmed state, was otherwise in the 
lowest condition, having been sadly thinned by sickness, and the waste 
of continual skirmishes. The absolute necessity of maintaining so 
many fortified places, left but a comparatively small force at the dis- 


posal of lord Mountjoy. One fact appears from the list of the Eng- 
lish army at this time, by which it appears that of sixteen thousand 
foot and eleven hundred and ninety-eight horse, the lord-deputy could 
only lead six thousand nine hundred foot, and six hundred and eleven 
horse against the enemy.* 

The disposal of the whole army of Ireland, the seven and twentieth of 
October, 1601: 

Left at Loughfoyle. 

Sir Henry Dockwra, 50; Sir John Bolles, 50; horse, 100 Sir 
Henry Dockwra, 200; Sir Matthew Morgan, 150; captaine Badly, 
150; Sir John Bolles, 150; captaine Crington, 100; captaine Vaug- 
han, 100; captaine Bingley, 150; captaine Coath, 100; captaine 
Basset, 100; captaine Dutton, 100; captaine Floyd, 100; captaine 
Oram, 100; captaine Alford, 100; captaine Pinner, 100; captaine 
Winsor, 100; captaine Sydley, 100; captaine Atkinson, 100; captaine 
Digges, 100; captaine Brooke, 100; captaine Stafford, 100; captaine 
Orrell, 100; captaine Leigh, 100; captaine Sidney, 100; captaine 
Gower, 150; captaine Willes, 150; captaine W. N. 100; foote 3000. 

Horse left at Carrickfergus. 

Sir Arthur Chichester, governour, 200; Sir Foulke Conway, 150; 
captaine Egerton, 100; captaine Norton, 100; captaine Billings, 150; 
captaine Philips, 150. Foote 850. 

Foote left in Secale. 

Sir Richard Moryson, the governour's company under his lieutenant, 
himselfe attending the lord-deputy at Kinsale, 150. 
Horse left in northern garrisons, 100. 

Foote in north garrisons. 

At Newrie, Sir Thomas Stafford, 200 ; at Dundalke, captaine Freck- 
leton, 100; at Carlingford, captaine Hansard, 200; at Mount Norrey's, 
captaine Atherton, 100; at Armagh, Sir Henrie Davers, under his 
lieutenant, himself being at Kinsale, 150; at Blackwater, captaine 
Williams, 150 Foote 800. 

Horse left in the pale, and places adjoyning. 

In Kilkenny, the earl of Ormonde, 50; in Kildare, the earle of 
Kildare, 50; in Westmeath, the lord Dunsany, 50; in Lowth, Sir 
Garret Moore, 25. Horse 175. 

Foote in the pale, (that is to say) 

At Kilkenny, Carlogh, Nass, Leax, and Ophalia, Dublin, Kildare, 
O'Carrol's countrie, Kelles and Westmeath. Foote 3150. 

* The curious reader will be gratified by a more distinct view of the composi- 
tion and distribution of this army, as contained in one of those old lists of which 
Moryson gives many. They are the more valuable, as exhibiting in a single 
view the principal places then garrisoned by the English. For this reason, we 
give one at length. 


Horse left in Connaught. 

The earle of Clanricarde, 50; captaine Wayman, 12 Horse 62. 
Foote left in Connaught, 1150. 

Totall of Horse, 587. Totall of Foote, 9100. 

The Lyst of the army with his lordship at Kinsale. 

The Old Mounster Lyst. 

Sir George Carew, lord-president, 50; Sir Anthony Cooke, 50; 
captaine Fleming, 25; captaine Taffe, 50. Horse 175. 

Foote of the Old Lyst. 

The lord-president, 150; the earle of Thoraond, 150; lord Andley, 
150; Sir Charles Wilmot, 150; master treasurer, 100; captaine Roger 
Harvey, 150; captaine Thomas Spencer, 150; captaine George Flower, 
100; captaine William Sacy, 100; captaine Garret Dillon, 100; cap- 
taine Nuse, 100; Sir Richard Percy, 150; Sir Francis Berkeley, 100; 
captaine Power, 100; a company for the earle of Desmonde's use, 100. 

New companies sent into Mounster lately, which arrived and were 
put into pay the fourth of September past. The lord-president added 
to his company, 50 ; the earle of Thomond added to his company, 50 ; 
Sir George Thorneton, 100; captaine Skipwith, 100; captaine Morris, 
100; captaine Kemish, 100; captaine North, 100; captaine Owstye, 
100; captaine Fisher, 100; captaine Yorke, 100; captaine Hart, 100; 
captaine Liste, 100; captaine Ravenscroft, 100; captaine Richard 
Hansard, 100 ; captaiue George Greame, 100 ; captaine Yelverton, 
100; captaine Pauton, 100; captaine Cullem, 100; captain Habby, 
100; captaine Gowen Harny, 100; captaine Coote, 100. 

Horse brought from the north and the pale to Kinsale. 

The lord-deputie's troope, 100 ; Sir Henrie Davers, 100; master- 
marshall, 50; Sir C. St Lawrence, 25; Sir H. Harrington, 25; Sir 
Edward Harbert, 1 2 ; Sir William Warren, 25 ; Sir Richard Greame, 
50; Sir Oliver St John's, 25; Sir Francis Rush, 12; captaine G. 
Greame, 12 Horse, 436. 

Foote that Sir John Berkeley brought from the borders of Con- 
naught to Kinsale, 950. 

Foote brought out of the pale by master-marshall, and from the 
northern garrisons by Sir Henry Davers to Kinsale. 

The lord-deputie's guard, 200; master-marshall, 150; Sir Benjamin 
Berry, 150; Sir William Fortescue, 150; Sir James Fitz-piers, 150; 
Sir Thomas Loftus, 100; Sir Henrie Follyot, 150; captaine Blaney, 
150; captaine Bodley, 150; captaine Rotheram, 150; captaine Roper, 
150; captaine Roe, 150; captaine Trevor, 100; captaine Ralph Con- 
stable, 100 Foote 2000. 

At Kinsale, Horse 611. Foote 6900. 

Totall of the whole army in Ireland: Horse 1198. Foote 16000 

Providentially they escaped these perils; the Spaniards were perhaps 
not fully aware of their advantages in this interval, and were also dis- 



couraged by the ill success which attended their sallies. On the 27th, 
the English received their own artillery and a supply of ammunition, 
and were thus enabled to assume the offensive. The lord-deputy began 
by fortifying his camp, which had hitherto been exposed to the nightly 
attacks of the enemy. The next consideration was the great disad- 
vantages to be apprehended from the castle of Rincorran, on the side 
of the harbour opposite to the town, which Don Juan had also seized 
and garrisoned with upwards of 150 Spaniards and as many Irish. 
While they continued to hold it, it was evident enough that no supplies 
or reinforcements from England could be received in the harbour; 
and it was therefore judged expedient to commence an attack upon it 
without delay. For this purpose a small battery of two culverins was 
mounted against it. 

The Spaniards fully aware of the real importance of the castle, now 
made the most continued and energetic efforts for its relief both by 
sea and land. On the water, their boats were beaten back by captain 
Button's ship. By land several lively skirmishes began. The Spaniards 
brought out a small cannon, and began to fire upon the English camp : 
a shot entering the paymaster's tent, which lay next to that of lord 
Mountjoy, smashed a barrel of coin, and damaged much other pro- 
perty; all the balls being directed at the lord-deputy's quarter, and 
most of them striking close to his tent. 

On the 31st, two culverins and a cannon played against the castle 
wall incessantly. While the attention of the English was thus en- 
gaged, the Spaniards put out a few boats from the town for a feint, 
and sent a party of five hundred men along the harbour, on the pre- 
text of covering the boats, but in reality to surprise a party of the 
English who were stationed on the shore between the town and castle. 
They were first noticed by several straggling parties and groupes of 
English who were loitering or standing at their posts about the 
camp. All these scattered soldiers collected quickly of their own 
accord towards the enemy, and were quickly joined by an hundred 
men sent out by Sir Oliver St John, under captain Roe and another 
officer: Sir Oliver himself followed with thirty men. A spirited but 
short skirmish was the consequence ; the Spaniards stood but for a few 
seconds to the charge, and retreated precipitately on their trenches, 
where they had placed a strong party as a reserve ; here the combat 
was fiercely renewed, and numbers fell in the trenches. Sir Oliver 
received many pikes on his target, and one thrust in the thigh ; but 
this gallant officer, one of the most distinguished in the British army 
for personal valour, on this occasion attracted the notice of both parties 
by his single exploits, bearing back and striking down his numerous 
opponents who broke and turned before him. Lord Audley was shot 
in the thigh: other officers, and about fourteen men, were wounded 
and slain, and about seventy of the enemy, of whom many were taken 
with much arms; among which were " divers good rapiers," a weapon 
of great value, for which Spain was then celebrated, being no other 
than the small sword, which about that time became an important part 
of the gentleman's costume. 

About six o'clock in the evening, the effects of the little three- 
gunned battery began to be felt in the castle; and a treaty commenced 



and was kept up during 1 the night and next day, for a surrender. 
The Spaniards desired to be allowed to enter Kinsale with their 
arms and baggage, and were peremptorily refused ; and several 
further proposals were in like manner rejected. Late on the next 
day, the Spanish commander, Alfiero, proposed first that the garrison 
should be allowed to enter Kinsale unarmed; and when this was re- 
fused, that he alone might be allowed to enter. All conditions being 
refused short of surrender at discretion, Alfiero resolved to hold out 
to extremity; this, however, his people would not submit to, and a 
surrender was made on the sole condition that Alfiero should be per- 
mitted to surrender his sword to the lord- deputy himself. The Span- 
iards to the number of eighty-six were then disarmed in the castle, and 
sent off as prisoners to Cork ; about thirty had been slain in the siege : 
the Irish had contrived to escape in the darkness of the previous 

Lord Mountjoy was by no means in condition for an attack upon 
Kinsale, but thought it expedient still as much as possible to keep up 
some appearance of preparatory movements. He received at this time 
letters from the queen, with accounts of coming supplies and reinforce- 
ments to the amount of five thousand men. One of the queen's letters 
on this occasion is amusingly characteristic. 

" Since the braineless humour of unadvised assault hath seized <m 
the hearts of our causeless foes, We doubt not but their gaine will be 
their bane, and glory their shame, that ever they had thought thereof. 
And that your humour agrees so rightly with ours, We think it most 
fortunately happened in your rule, to show the better whose you are 
and what you be, as your own handwrit hath told us of late, and do 
beseech the Almighty power of the Highest so to guide your hands, 
so that nothing light in vain ; but to prosper your heed, that nothing 
be left behind that might avail your praise : and that yourself, in 
venturing too far, make not to the foe a prey of you. Tell our army 
from us that they make full account that every hundred of them will 
beat a thousand; and every thousand, theirs doubled. 1 am the bolder 
to pronounce it in His name that hath ever prospered my righteous 
cause, in which I bless them all. And putting you in the first place, 
I end, scribbling in haste,* 

" Your loving soveraine, 


On the 5th of November, four ships came from Dublin with sup- 
plies ; and at the same time accounts were received of the approach of 
the confederate Irish under Tyrone and O'Donell. It was therefore 
determined in council to fortify the camp strongly toward the north; 
and on the day following the completion of that work, (the 7th,) the 
lord-president left the camp with two regiments, to endeavour to in- 
tercept the enemy on the borders of the province. 

On the eighth, thirteen ships were seen, which were soon after 
ascertained to carry a reinforcement of one thousand foot and some 

* Moryson. 



horse under the earl of Thomond. But the Spaniards had discovered 
the absence of lord Mountjoy and his party, and thought to avail 
themselves of it by a strong sortie. For this, they marched out in 
force, and lined their trenches with strong bodies : they then sent for- 
ward a well-armed party toward the camp. The English detached a 
sufficient party against this, but at the same time sent out another 
armed with fire-arms to a bushy hill extending towards llincorran 
castle, to take the trenches by a flanking fire, while they rush- 
ing out from their entrenchment, repelled the enemy before their 
camp ; the hill detachment at the same time drove their reserve from 
the trenches before the town, so that when the retreating party came 
up and thought to make a stand, they found themselves without the 
expected support, and were charged with such fury by the English, 
that they fell into entire confusion and left numbers dead in the 
trenches. Don .Juan was much irritated by this repulse, and praised 
the bravery of the English, while he reproached his own men with 
cowardice, and committed their leader to prison. He then issued a 
proclamation, that from that time no man should, on pain of death, 
leave his ground in any service until taken away by his officer; and 
that even if his musket were broken, he should fight to death with his 
s word- 
On the 12th, the English army received the cheering and satisfac- 
tory information of the landing of the supplies and succours from Eng- 
land. Their transports had put in at Waterford, Youghal, Castle- 
haven and Cork ; which latter harbour Sir R. Liveson, admiral, and 
vice-admiral Preston entered with ten ships of war, bearing 2000 foot, 
with artillery and ammunition. To these the lord-deputy sent to 
desire that they would sail into Kinsale harbour, as the artillery could 
not otherwise be easily or speedily brought into the camp. Though 
these supplies were far below the exigency, they yet relieved the 
English from a position of very great danger, in which they lay almost 
helpless, and quite incapable of offensive operations. The firm and 
resolute energy of Mountjoy appears very prominently in the active 
series of operations which he now commenced and conducted with the 
most consummate prudence, and unwearied perseverance and courage, 
under circumstances in every way the most disheartening. Imme- 
diately before the arrival of the English fleet, his army had been for 
some time reduced to every extremity of suffering, which a body of 
men can be conceived to bear without disorganization. During 
this interval, a letter of the deputy's to Cecil, enables us to catch 
a distant gleam of his personal character and conduct, which must 
gratify the reader. " Having been up most of the night, it groweth 
now about four o'clock in the morning, at which time I lightly chuse to 
visit our guards myself ; and am now going about that business, in a 
morning as cold as a stone and as dark as pitch. And I pray, sir, think 
whether this be a life that I take much delight in, who heretofore in 
England, when I have had a suit to the queen, could not lie in a tent 
in the summer, nor watch at night till she had supped?"* It is ob- 
served of this nobleman by Moryson, who was about his person, that 

* Lord Mountjoy 's letter to Cecil. Moryson. 


he never knew a person go so warmly clad in every season of the year. 
The description of Moryson gives a lively picture of the man of his 
time, but it is too long for our present purpose. While commanding 
in Ireland, besides his silk stockings, " he wore under boots, another 
pair, of woollen or worsted, with a pair of high linen boot hose ; yea, 
three waistcoats in cold weather, and a thick ruffe, besides a lusset 
scarf about his neck thrice folded under it ; so as I never observed anv 
of his age and strength keep his body so warm." Speaking of hi"s 
diet, among other circumstances he mentions, " he took tobacco abun- 
dantly, and of the best, which I think preserved him from sickness 
especially in Ireland, where the foggy air of the bogs and waterish 
fowl, plenty of fish, and generally all meats of which the common sort 
always are salted and green roasted, do most prejudice the health." 
At his care of his person, and " his daintie fare before the wars," it 
was the custom of the rebel earl to laugh and observe that he would 
be beaten, while preparing his breakfast. But on this the secretary, 
justly jealous of his master's honour, remarks, "that by woful experience 
he found this jesting to be the laughter of Solomon's fool."* 

The extreme suffering of the English at this time can imperfectly 
be conceived from the mere circumstance that they were living in 
tents, and huts less warm than tents, in the month of November, without 
much added allowance for the far colder state of the climate, where 
the country was a wild waste of damp and marshy forests and watery 
morasses. In one of his letters the lord-deputy mentions that the 
sentinels were frequently carried in dead from their posts ; the officers 
themselves " do many of them look like spirits with toil and watching." 
Under such circumstances, the feeling of impatience must have been 
great for the occurrence of some decisive event. 

The arrival of the fleet cheered the English with at least a prospect 
of active service ; yet from the very unfavourable state of the weather, 
many delays were experienced. The artillery was disembarked with 
difficulty, and the troops so disordered in health by the long and tem- 
pestuous passage, that upwards of a thousand men were sent to Cork 
to " refresh" and rest themselves. On his return from a visit to the 
ship, lord Mountjoy was saluted by a discharge of cannon balls from 
the town, of which " one came so near that it did beat the earth in 
his face."f 

It was now resolved to ply the town with a heavy fire, not so much 
with the design of an assault as to annoy the Spaniards, and, by break- 
ing in the roofs, make them share in the hardships which the English 
had to sustain from the wet and frost. One very great disadvantage for 
this purpose was, the impossibility of finding a spot uncommanded by the 
guns of the town. The fleet was directed to batter a tower called " castle 
Nyparke," on an island on the side ; but on account of the stormy 
weather, were compelled to desist. Captain Bodly was next sent with 
400 men to try whether it might be carried with the pickaxe this also 
failed; the Spaniards rolled down huge stones so fast and successfully, as 
to break the engine which protected their assailants, who were thus 
driven off with the loss of two men. It was, however, resolved by the 

* Moryson. f Ibid. 


lord-deputy and his council to persevere, as this was indeed the only ser- 
vice at the time to be attempted. The reader will recollect that two 
thousand men had been sent to wait for Tyrone upon the verge of 
Munster ; and it would be unsafe to commence a regular siege with 
the force remaining, as the fatigue of the trenches would quickly ex- 
haust the men. To invest the town, therefore, and proceed to cut off 
every post without, held by the enemy, was the utmost they could yet 
hope to effect without great risk. It should be added, that one-third 
of the army was composed of Irish, who were not then so effectual in 
open assaults as they have since become; and it was also apprehended, 
that on the slightest seeming of disadvantage they would join the 
Spaniards. Under these circumstances the firing against castle Nyparke 
was renewed on the 20th, with additional guns, and an impression 
was soon made on the walls. There was not yet a practicable breach 
when a flag of parley was hung out, and the Spaniards offered to sur- 
render if their lives should be spared. The offer was promptly ac- 
cepted, and they were brought prisoners to the camp. Another ad- 
vantage was at the same time obtained, by the discovery of a spot half- 
way between Kinsale and the camp, which commanded a most impor- 
tant portion of the town, where the Spaniards kept their stores, and 
Don Juan resided. On this judiciously-chosen situation a small plat- 
form was raised and a fire opened with a single culverin on a part of 
the town visible from thence. It did considerable mischief, and 
among other lucky shots, one went through Don Juan's house. 

The Spaniards, in the mean time, were not without their full share of 
suffering and apprehension. It was made apparent that their provision 
was beginning to run low; the Irish women and children were sent 
out of the town and came in great numbers to the camp, from which 
they were sent on into the country. The inference was confirmed by 
intelligence from the town whence an Irishman escaping came to 
the lord-deputy and told him, that Don Juan said privately, that the 
English must take the town, should it not be quickly relieved from the 
north. The Spaniards were reduced to rusks and water ; they had 
but four pieces of artillery a circumstance which may account for 
the small annoyance the English had all this time received from them. 
They had left Spain 5000 in number, and landed 3500 in Kinsale. 
Of these the waste of the war had been 500, so that at the time of our 
narration, they were 3000. To these main circumstances many other 
particulars were added, as to the positions of strength and weakness, and 
the places where ammunition and treasure were kept. Among other 
things it was mentioned, that six gentlemen had entered the town on 
Sunday, and were ready to go out again to raise the country. A 
messenger had been despatched nine days before to Tyrone to hasten 
his approach. It was also beginning to be greatly feared, that if this 
event should be much longer deferred, the Spaniards must be com- 
pelled to capitulate. 

The battery on the platform was soon strengthened with four guns, 
making thus six in all; and having been informed that Don Juan 
especially feared a cannonade from the island, the lord-deputy had three 
culverins planted there. One discharge from the platform killed four 
men in the market place, and carried off the leg of an officer. Reports 



were received of great damage suffered in the town from the fire 
of both these batteries on the following day. On that day an in- 
cident occurred in sight of the Spaniards, which must have added in 
no small degree to the notions they had already been enabled to form 
of the English valour. A private soldier of Sir John Berkeley's com- 
pany attempted to " steal a Spanish sentinel," a feat which he bad 
often already performed : on this occasion, however, four other Span- 
iards whom he had not seen, came to the rescue of their comrade, and 
a sharp contest ensued, in which the Englishman defended himself 
against the five. He wounded the serjeant, and came off after some 
exchange of blows, with a cut in his hand, received in parrying one of 
the numerous pike thrusts which they made at him. 

From this period the lord-deputy commenced a series of regular 
approaches, of which the detail, though otherwise full of interest, would 
occupy an undue space here. A breach was made in the town walls, 
which gave occasion to several fierce contests falling little short of 
the character of general engagements, in all of which the Spaniards 
were worsted with great slaughter. The town was summoned on the 
28th November ; but Don Juan replied that he kept it " first for Christ, 
and next for the king of Spain, and so would defend it contra tanti" 
At this time six Spanish vessels arrived at Castlehaven, with 2000 
men on board. The lord-deputy in consequence, drew his forces close 
to the town, and distributed them so as most effectually to guard every 
inlet. He sent a herald to Don Juan, offering him permission to bury 
his dead; and this brought some further communications. Among 
other things, the Spanish general proposed that they should decide 
the matter by single combat between the deputy and himself. To this 
amusing fanfaronade, lord Mountjoy replied, that they had neither of 
them any authority from the courts to put the war to such an arbitra- 
tion; and that the council of Trent forbade the " Romanists to fight 
in campo steccato"* The arrival of the Spanish vessels gave a temporary 
renovation to the waning hopes of Don Juan : the result fell far short 
of his expectation. The English squadron sailing out from Kinsale 
harbour, came on the 6th of December to Castlehaven, where opening 
its fire on the Spaniards, it sunk one of their largest vessels, drove 
their admiral a wreck on shore, and took many prisoners the Spanish 
soldiers from two vessels succeeded in making their escape, and went 
to join the Irish under O'Donell. From the prisoners the lord-deputy 
learned that active steps were in course for the purpose of sending 
over large supplies during the spring; and that 4000 Italians were 
raised for the Irish service. They added, that in Spain the impression 
was that Ireland was already in the hands of the Spaniards ; and that 
on their approach they had mistaken the English fleet in the harbour 
for that of the army under Don Juan. 

Early in December the state of the war assumed an aspect of more 
awakening interest. Daily accounts were brought to the camp of the 
near approach of Tyrone : nor were they long without more sensible 
intimations of the presence of a powerful foe. This able and wary 
chief had seized on the surrounding fastnesses and bogs, and entrenched 

* Moryson. 
2 M 



himself so as to be secure from any effort of his enemies. But the 
English army was thus itself hemmed in, and not only in danger of 
being attacked on every side ; but what was really more serious, cut 
off from those supplies from the surrounding country, which had till 
now enabled them to preserve their stores. To effect the double object 
of investing the town and keeping off the Irish, was now become an 
embarrassing necessity. The lord-deputy increased the extent, the 
breadth, and depth of his trenches and made the most able disposi- 
tions to cut off all communication between the Irish camp and the 
town. By his dispatches to the English council and secretary, we 
learn that the combined armies of Tyrone and O'Donell lay at the 
distance of six miles from the camp; and that they possessed all that 
had been saved from the Spanish fleet at Castlehaven, both in men 
and supplies. He demanded large reinforcement, and complained that 
the previous one had been in a measure made ineffectual by the tar- 
diness of their arrival. Instead of arriving to increase his force, they 
came only to supply the losses consequent upon its weakness ; so 
that thus his means of active operation never rose to an efficient 
level. The sufferings and losses from cold and privation were also 
daily increasing. 

Meanwhile nothing was omitted that could distress Kinsale; an 
effective fire, though interrupted by rain and storm, dismounted the 
guns with which the Spaniards attempted to interrupt the works ; and 
on the 15th, many of the castles were destroyed. On the 18th, the 
following letter was intercepted : 

To the Prince CfNeale and Lord O'Donell, 

" I thought your excellencies would have come at Don Ricardo his 
going, since he had orders from you to say, that upon the Spaniards 
comming to you (from Castlehaven,) you would doe me that favour. 
And so I beseech you now you will doe it, and come as speedily and 
well appointed as may bee. For I assure you, that the enemies are 
tired, and are very few, and they cannot guard the third part of their 
trenches which shall not avail them; for resisting their first furie, all 
is ended. The manner of your comming your excellencies know bet- 
ter to take there, than I to give it here ; for I will give them well to 
doe this way, being alwaies watching to give the blow all that I can, 
and with some resolution, that your excellencies fighting as they do 
alwaise, I hope in God the victorie shall be ours without doubt, for 
the cause is his. And I more desire that victory for the interest of 
your excellencies than my owne. And so there is nothing to be done, 
but to bring your squadrons ; come well appointed and close withall, 
and being mingled with the enemies, their forts will doe as much harme 
to them as to us. I commend myself to Don Ricardo. The Lorde 
keep your excellencies. From Kinsale the eighth and twentieth (the 
new style, being the eighteenth after the old stile) of December, 1601. 

" Though you be not well fitted, I beseech your excellencies to dis- 
lodge, and come toward the enemy for expedition imports. It is need- 
full that we all be onhorsebacke at once, and the greater haste the better.* 

" Signed by DON JEAN DEL AGUYLA." 




The desire of the lord-deputy was, to bring on a decisive battle if 
possible. The English were dying by dozens, and the effects of delay 
were more to be feared than the enemy, and his suffering troops were 
much more disposed to fight than to endure cold, exposure, and starva- 
tion. To draw on this desirable event new breaches were effected, 
and a considerable part of the town wall struck down. The Irish on 
this approached within a mile of the camp; but when two regiments 
were sent out to meet them, they retired within their lines " a fast- 
ness of wood and water where they encamped." 

On the nights of the 20th, 21st, and 22d, the weather was stormy; 
and on the 22d particularly, the work of war went on by almost un- 
remitting flashes of lightning, which streamed from the low dense 
vault of clouds overhead, playing on the spears, and showing every object 
between the camp and the town with an intensity beyond that of day. 
In this confusion of the elements, the Spaniards made several bold but 
vain assaults upon the English trenches ; and notwithstanding the 
numerous obstacles opposed, both by the depth and continuity of these, 
and the incessant vigilance of the English who now lay under arms 
all night, still they contrived to communicate by frequent messengers 
with the camp of Tyrone and O'Donell. On this very night, it is 
mentioned upon the authority of Don Juan, that he dispatched three 
messengers to Tyrone and received answers. It was decided on the 
next night to attack the English camp on both sides ; and there is 
every reason to believe, that if this design had been effected, it would 
have gone hard with the English. But, strange to say, by some 
mischance, seemingly inconsistent with the near position of the Irish 
(about six miles), they were led astray during the night, and did not 
come within sight of the enemy until morning light. The lord-de- 
puty was fully prepared. Sir G. Carew had received on the previ- 
ous evening a message from MacMahon, one of the leaders in the 
rebel camp, to beg for a bottle of usquebaugh, and desiring him to ex- 
pect this assault. Early on the morning of the 24th, lord Mountjoy 
called a council, and it was their opinion that some accident had pre- 
vented the expected attack ; but while they were engaged in debate, a 
person called Sir George Carew to the door, and told him that 
Tyrone's army was very close to the camp. This report was quickly 
confirmed, and the lord-deputy made prompt arrangements to attack 
the Irish army. 

At this important moment, the whole effective force of the Eng- 
lish army was 5840 English soldiers in eleven regiments, with 
767 Irish. The army of Tyrone and O'Donell, cannot be estimated' 
on any satisfactory authority; but the Spanish commander, Alonzo de 
Campo, assured the lords Mountjoy and Sir G. Carew, that the Irish 
amounted to 6000 foot and 500 horse a number far below any esti- 
mate otherwise to be formed from other data. In the Irish host 
captain Tyrrel led the vanguard, in which were the 2000 Spaniards 
who had landed in Castlehaven ; the earl of Tyrone commanded the 
main body, then commonly called the battle, and O'Donell the rear. 

This moment was one of the most critical that has ever occurred in 
the history of Ireland. The whole chance of the English army, and 
consequently of the preservation of the pale, depended upon their sue- 


cess in bringing the enemy to an engagement. They were themselves 
completely shut in, and out of condition to preserve their very exist- 
ence against the destructive effects of cold, sickness, and want; so 
that a few weeks must have reduced them without any effort on the 
part of the enemy. Fortunately for them, one alone of the hostile 
leaders had formed any just notion of their respective strength and 
weakness : the earl of Tyrone, whose sagacious mind had been well 
instructed by severe experience, had exerted all his influence to 
moderate the impatience of his allies, and to retain the advantages of 
his position by avoiding all temptations to engage the enemy. If left 
to his own discretion, he would have kept securely within his lines, 
and confined his operations to the prevention of intercourse between 
the English and the surrounding country trusting to the progress of 
those causes which could scarcely fail to place them in his power. 
But Don Juan was impatient of a siege which had become extremely 
distressing, and his urgency was backed by the confidence of the 
Spaniards under Tyrrel, and the impetuosity of O'Donell. 

If the reader will conceive himself to stand at some distance with 
his face toward the town and harbour of Kinsale,* with the river 
Bandon on his right, he will then have the whole encampment of the 
English in view ; the position of the lord-deputy and the president 
Carew being before him, in the centre of the semi-circumference, of 
which the castle of RincorraA occupies the extreme left, and the lesser 
camp under lord Thomond the right extremity, so as to form a semi- 
circle round the town. On the 24th of December, the combined army 
under Tyrone occupied a position inclining to the right, or in a line 
drawn from the central camp towards Dunderrow on the north-west. 

To prevent the fatal consequence of a sortie from Kinsale, Sir 
George Carew was directed to take the command of the camp, and 
to proceed as usual with the siege. By this able commander the 
guards were doubled at every point, from which the Spaniards could 
come out, and so effective were these precautions that the battle was 
over before Don Juan had any distinct intimation of its commencement. 

Lord Mountjoy led out two regiments amounting to 1 1 00 men to 
meet the enemy. The marshall Wingfield, with 600 horse and Sir 
Henry Power's regiment, had already been in the field all night. On 
their approach the Irish retired across a ford ; but as they showed 
evident signs of disorder, the lord-marshal sent for leave to attack, to the 
lord-deputy, who took his stand on a near eminence ; on which Mount- 
joy having first inquired as to the nature of the ground on the other 
"side, and learned that it was a fair wide field, ordered the attack. 
At or about the same time, the earl of Clanricarde, whose regiment was 
occupied in the camp, came up also to urge the attack. The difficulty 
to be overcome was considerable. A bog and a deep ford lay between 
them and the rising-ground on which the Irish stood, and as it was 
plain they could only pass in detail, a very little skill would have pre- 
vented their passage. The marshal first passed over with the brave 
earl of Clanricarde, and advanced with 1 00 horse, to cover the passage 

* We have chiefly taken our description of this memorable battle from a very 
confused and unsatisfactory map in the Hibernia Pactta. 


of Sir Henry Power, who led two regiments across the ford. A 
hundred harquehusiers, led by lieutenant Cowel, began the fight by a 
fire, which was returned by a strong skirmishing party sent out 
to meet them along the bogside. The English skirmishers were 
driven in upon the ranks, but being strengthened they returned and 
repulsed those of the Irish. The marshal with his party next charged 
an Irish division of about 1800 men, on which they failed to make 
any impression. On this the lord-deputy sent down Sir Henry 
D avers with the rest of the horse, and Sir William Godolphin with 
two other regiments of foot. Marshal Wingfield once more charged 
them, and the Irish were broken and began to fly in all directions. 
The explosion of a bag of powder in the midst of their rout added 
to its terror and confusion, and produced on both parties a momen- 
tary suspense. The circumstance most discouraging to the Irish 
was the flight of their horse, which being chiefly composed of the 
chiefs of septs or their kindred, were looked on with reliance.* 
In consequence a great slaughter took place. But the two other 
bodies of Irish and Spanish seeing this, came on to their assistance. 
To meet this danger, lord Mountjoy sent Sir Francis Roe with his regi- 
ment, and also the regiment of St John, to charge the Irish vanguard 
in flank, which retired in disorder from the charge. The Spaniards 
which formed part of this body, however, rallied, and separating them- 
selves from the Irish, made a stand ; they were charged a second time 
and broken by the lord-deputy's troop, led by Godolphin. In this 
second charge they were nearly all cut to pieces, and the remnant 
made prisoners with Don Alonzo del Campo, their commander. From 
this no further stand was attempted, but the Irish army began to fly 
on every side, and their flight was facilitated by the resolute resist- 
ance of the Spaniards. A chase commenced and was continued for 
two miles, in which great numbers were slain without any effort at 
resistance. On the field of battle lay 1200 Irish, besides the greater 
part of the Spaniards. Tyrone, who afterwards said that he was 
beaten by an army less than one-sixth of his own, added that besides 
the number slain he had 800 wounded.f 

According to Moryson's account, lord Mountjoy, "in the midst of 
the dead bodies, caused thanks to be given to God for this victory." 
And never, indeed, was there an occasion on which the impression of 
providential deliverance was better warranted: whether the magni- 
tude of the consequences be looked at, or the almost singular cir- 
cumstance of such a formidable preparation being thus set at nought ; 
and upwards of 3000 slain or wounded, with the loss of one cornet and 
seven common soldiers. 

A note given by one of Tyrone's followers, of his loss at this overthrow. 

"Tirlogh O'Hag,sonneto Art O'Hagan, commanded of five hundred, 
slaine himselfe with all his company, except twenty, where eleven were 
hurt, and of them seven died the eighteenth day after their returne. 

" Kedagh MacDonnell, captaine of three hundred, slaine with all 
his men, except threescore; whereof there were hurt five and twenty. 

* Moryson. \ Moryson. Hibernia Pacaia. 



" Donell Groome MacDonnell, captaine of a hundred, slaine himselfe 
and his whole company. 

" Rory MacDonnell, captaine of a hundred, slaine himselfe and his 

" Five of the Clancans, captaines of five hundred, themselves slaine 
and their companies, except threescore and eighteene, whereof three- 
score were hurt. 

" Sorly Boyes sones had followers in three hundred, under the lead- 
ing of captaine Mulmore O'Heagarty, all slaine with the said Mulmore 
saving one and thirty, whereof twenty were hurt. 

" Colle Duff MacDonnell, captaine of one hundred, lost with all his 

" Three of the Neales, captaines of three hundred sent by Cor- 
mack Mac Barren, all lost saving eighteene, whereof there were nine 

" Captaines slaine 14; soldiers slaine 1995; soldiers hurt 76." 

The earl of Clanricarde was knighted on the field for his distin- 
guished services that day, having slain twenty Irish, hand to hand, 
and had his clothes torn in pieces with their pikes. 

The English were marching hack to their camp a little before noon, 
and on reaching it a generil volley was fired to celebrate their success. 
This the garrison in Kinsale mistook for the approach of the Irish, 
whom they imagined to have driven in the English and to be now en- 
gaged in an assault upon their camp. On this supposition they made a 
sally but were as usual quickly driven in. They were at the same time 
shocked and disheartened by the sight of the Spanish colours in pos- 
session of the enemy's horse, who were waving them on a hill in sight. 
The position of Don Juan now afforded little hope ; but he continued to 
hold out, and on the night after the battle the conquerors had to 
maintain an action of two hours' continuance against a fierce sally. 
A similar attempt was made on the following night. 

On the 29th of December, accounts came that Tyrone had crossed 
the Blackwater with the loss of many carriages and 140 men, who 
were drowned in their hurry, having attempted to pass before the 
waters were fallen. Tyrone was said to be wounded and compelled to 
travel in a litter. O'Donell embarked for Spain, with Pedro Zubuiar, 
one of the commanders of the Spanish ships. 

Don Juan now saw that it was necessary to save his little garrison 
by capitulation; having, in fact, committed every oversight, that the 
circumstances made possible, he still considered that his military cha- 
racter was to be preserved. He had by the unaccountable blunder of 
landing in the south, to strengthen a rebellion of which the whole 
efficient strength lay in the north, first thrown himself and his army 
into a position in which their isolation and danger were a matter of 
course, and thus compelled his ally to give up the advantages he pos- 
sessed, and meet all the dangers and distresses of a winter march 
through the forests, morasses, tempests, and enemies, over 300 miles 
of country. He then, when this desperate point was gained, with an 
entire disregard of the constitution and quality of his allies, their 
habits of warfare, and all the obvious advantages and disadvau- 



tag-es on either side, precipitated his friends into the hazard of an 
engagement : he failed to recollect that a few weeks must needs bring 
succours both to himself and Tyrone, and reduce the English as 
much: for they were really sinking fast, although it is suspected that 
the policy of Mountjoy made him believe matters worse than they 
really were. Then, when the fatal step was thus hurried on by 
his inconsiderate pride and impatience, he suffered himself to be re- 
duced to inaction, by a small part of the army which he affected to 
despise, and lay still while his ally was cut to pieces by a handful of 
his besiegers. 

Notwithstanding this catalogue of blunders his indignation was 
roused, he spoke as one betrayed by those he came to save ; and 
sent a message to lord Mountjoy, proposing that a negotiation should 
be opened between them for the surrender of the town. In this com- 
munication he did not fail to insist that his own honour, and that of 
the Spanish arms were safe; that having come to give assistance to 
the arms of the Condes, O'Neale, and O'Donell, these two Condes, 
were it appeared no longer " in rerum natura," but had run away, 
leaving him, the Spanish commander, to fight the battle alone. Lord 
Mountjoy knew too well the difficulties he should have to encounter 
in maintaining the siege even for a few days more with his scanty re- 
sources and shattered army. Indeed, the last sally of the Spaniards 
had cost him far more men than the victory of the morning. He 
therefore most willingly consented, and sent Sir W. Godolphiu into 
Kinsale. It is unnecessary here to detail the circumstances of the 
negotiation. One point only occasioned a momentary disagreement. 
Lord Mountjoy stipulated for the surrender of the Spanish stores, 
ordnance, and treasure: Don Juan took fire at the proposal, which 
he considered as an insult, and declared that if such an article were 
insisted upon further, he would break off all further treaty, and bury 
himself and his men in the ruins of the town before he would yield. 
Lord Moxmtjoy knew that he would keep his word; for however in- 
capable as a commander, he was resolute and punctilious. It was 
therefore agreed, that the Spaniards should surrender Kinsale, and all 
the other forts and towns belonging to her Majesty, which were in 
their possession, and stand pledged not to take arms for her enemies, 
or commit any hostile act until they had been first disembarked in a 
Spanish port. On the part of the English government, it was agreed 
that they should be allowed to depart for Spain, with all their property 
and friends, and while the preparations were making, they were to be 
sustained by the English government. These were the principal 
articles of the treaty, which was with some slight interruptions, here- 
after to be noticed, carried into effect. 

Don Juan, in the mean time, accompanied the lords-deputy and 
president into Cork, where they lived on those terms of friendly 
intercourse which mark the cessation of hostility between civilized 
nations and honourable enemies. During this time, however, a des- 
patch from Spain was intercepted, containing numerous letters from 
the king of Spain, and his minister the duke of Lerma, to Don Juan; 
they are preserved in the Pacata Hibernia, and plainly manifest the 
extensive preparations then in progress, to send over formidable rein- 



forcements a result which providentially was set aside by the victory 
of Kinsale, which for the first time made clear to the Spanish court 
the real military character of their brave but barbarian allies. Shortly 
after his return to Spain, Don Juan was disgraced by his court, and 
died of vexation and disappointment. He seems to have possessed the 
proud and punctilious honour for which Spanish gentlemen have 
always been distinguished. His defence of Kinsale proves him a good 
soldier, and not destitute of military knowledge and talent; while his 
entire conduct was such as to exhibit still more unquestionably, that 
he wanted the sagacity, prudence, and the comprehensive calculating 
and observing tact, so necessary when difficulties on a large scale are 
to be encountered. A short correspondence with Sir G. Carew, after 
his arrival in Spain, seems to warrant an inference that he was a pro- 
ficient in the art of fortification, and on still more probable grounds 
that his disposition was generous and noble. 

To return to the earl : there is no further occurrence of his life, 
which demands any minuteness of detail. His fate for some time 
trembled on the wavering resentment and dotage of the queen, whose 
long and brilliant reign was just in its last feeble expiring flashes. 
He had made a futile and ineffective effort to prolong a rebellion, of 
which the country was wearied. He had been taught that success 
alone, now less probable tiian ever, could purchase the alliance of his 
uncertain and time-serving countrymen. He nevertheless had con- 
tinued to maintain a specious attitude of hostility, though in reality it 
was no more than a succession of flights and escapes through the whole 
of the following summer, until the month of November. When learn- 
ing that the obstinate resentment of the queen had given way to the 
desire of preventing increased expenses, by terminating all further pro- 
secution of this rebellion he sent his proposals of submission: but as 
it was apparent from intercepted letters, that while he was endeavour- 
ing to gain terms for himself, he still continued his endeavours to 
excite other chiefs to continued rebellion, his overtures, for a time, 
were doubtfully received. The expectation of some great effort from 
Spain, for a while continued to deceive both parties. These illusions 
slowly cleared away, and on the 3d of March, 1603, Tyrone made the 
most entire submission which it was possible for discretionary power to 
dictate,* and received a full pardon. He then received a promise of 
the restoration of his lands, with certain reserves in favour of Henry 
Oge O'Neale, and Tirlogh MacHenry, to whom promises of land had 
been made; also of 600 acres for the new forts Mountjoy andCharle- 
mont. Certain rents or compositions to the crown, were at the same 
time reserved. 

On the 6th of April he arrived in Dublin, in company with the 
lord-deputy, and the next day an account arrived of the queen's death, 
on which it is said the earl of Tyrone burst into a violent fit of tears. 

Tyrone formally repeated his submission to king James, and ac- 
cording to stipulation, wrote for his son to Spain, where he had been 
sent to be brought up at the Spanish court. In the mean time he had 
permission to return to the north for the settlement of his affairs, and 

* The terms are preserved in Moryson, 1. 3, cap. 2. 



lord Mountjoy sent over a full detail of all the particulars of his submis- 
sion, and the powers on which it had been received, and demanded 
the king's confirmation of his pardon. 

Shortly after lord Mountjoy, having been made lord-lieutenant, with 
permission to leave Sir G. Carew as his deputy, returned to England 
with the earl of Tyrone. Tyrone was received graciously at court, 
but his presence in the streets roused the animosity of the English 
mob, and he was everywhere encountered with reviling and popular 
violence, so that he was obliged to travel with a guard until he was 
again embarked for Ireland. 

Lord Mountjoy was created earl of Devonshire, but did not live 
long to enjoy the honour, as he died in the spring of 1606, without 
leaving any heirs, so that the title again became extinct. Many persons 
of much ability had preceded him in the government of this country; 
yet, with the best intentions, none before him appear to have been 
competent to the mastery of the great and manifold disorders which 
had for six centuries continued to embroil its people, until long-con- 
tinued war had reduced them to a state not superior to barbarism, and 
produced a moral and political disorganization not to be so perfectly 
exemplified in the history of modern states. By a consummate union of 
caution, perseverance, firmness, and native military tact, he met and 
arrested a dangerous rebellion, at a moment when its chances of suc- 
cess were at the highest, and when it was in the hands of the ablest 
and best-supported leaders that had yet entered the field of Irish in- 
surrection. Of both these affirmations the best proof will be found 
in the whole of the operations in the north before the siege of Kinsale. 

The country was now reduced to a state of comparative tranquillity, 
and the earl of Tyrone might have run out the remainder of his 
course, and transmitted his honours and estates without interruption. 
But, although rebellion was stilled, a spirit of disaffection survived; 
and it cannot, with any probability, be said that the more turbulent 
chiefs of the north had ever entirely laid aside the hope of times more 
favourable to the assertion of their independence. In place of the 
ordinary motives of human pride, ambition, aud interest, the more 
safe and popular excitement of religion began to be assumed, as the 
disguise of designs which grew and were cherished in secret. By 
the efficacy of this stimulant, fierce impulses were from time to time 
transmitted through the country; and though matters were by no 
means ripe for any considerable impulse arising from religious fana- 
ticism, yet a degree of popular feeling was sufficiently excited, to en- 
courage the restless earl of Tyrone in the hope of a coming occasion 
once more to try the chance of open rebellion with better prospects. 
Such a sentiment could not be long entertained, without numerous 
acts and words, which, if brought to the test of inquiry, would endanger 
his head. Such an occasion soon occurred, and produced conse- 
quences which historians have thought fit to call mysterious. 

The archbishop of Armagh had a contest with the earl for lands 
alleged to be usurped from his see. A suit was commenced, and Tyrone 
was summoned to appear before the privy council. He had, however, 
heard that O'Cahan, a confidential servant of his own, had enlisted 
himself on the primate's part ; and concluded that the summons was a 



pretext to lay hold on him. His fears were communicated to others, 
and, according to a report stated by Cox, they seem to have not been 
groundless. On the 7th May, 1607, a letter, directed to Sir William 
Fisher, clerk of the council, was dropped in the council chamber, ac- 
cusing the earl of Tyrone and Rory O'Donell, who had been created 
earl of Tyrconnel in 1603, with lord M'Guire and others, of a con- 
spiracy to surprize the castle of Dublin. However this question may 
be decided, it is certain at least that both Tyrone and the earl of Tyr- 
connel took the alarm, and fled to Spain, leaving all that they had in- 
trigued or contended for to the mercy of the English government. 
From this there is no certain notice of Tyrone in history. 


BORN A. D. 1502 DIED A. D. 1590. 

THIS eminent lord succeeded his brother, Gerald, in the earldom. 
His youth was spent in Italy. He was bred in Milan, and early en- 
tered the German service. On his brother's death, the inheritance 
was seized by one of the family, who was next heir, on the failure 
of next of kin in the direct line. The matter might have remained 
thus, and the wrongful possessor allowed to obtain that protection 
which time must ever give to possession, but most of all in that age 
of unsettled rights ; but fortunately for him, he was timely remem- 
bered by his nurse, Joan Harman, who was not prevented by the in- 
firmities of old age from proceeding with her daughter in search of 
her foster-child. Having embarked at Dingle, she landed in France, 
and went from thence to Italy. After overcoming the many difficulties 
of so long a journey, with her imperfect means and ignorance of the 
way, she found her noble foster-son ; and, having given him the need- 
ful information concerning the state of his affairs, she died on her way 

Lord Thomas came over to take possession of his estate and honours. 
For two years he had to contend with the resolute opposition of the 
intruder who relied on the circumstance of his being less known in 
the country from having passed his life abroad. The intruding 
claimant was himself, it is likely, misled by the local character of his 
own acquaintance with society. In two years the claim of justice pre- 
vailed, and in or about the year 1550, in his forty-eighth year lord 
Thomas Fitz-Maurice obtained full possession of his rights. 

He was treated with distinguishing honour and confidence by Philip 
and Mary; who, in a letter apprizing him of their marriage, desired his 
good offices in aid of the lord deputy, to assist in rectifying the dis- 
orders which had been suffered to increase for some years in their 
Irish dominions. His course for many years was thus one of loyal 
duty, and honoured by the royal favour, although its incidents were 
not such as to call for our special notice. Among these it may be 
mentioned, that in the parliament of the third year of Philip and 
Mary, he sat as premier baron; while in that of the fourth year of the 
same reign, lord Trimleston was placed above him. But in 1581, 
when in his 79th year, he was led into rebellion, by the example of 



others, and by the seeming weakness of the English. The lord deputy, 
supposing that the quiet of Munster was secured by the flight of the 
earl of Desmond and the death of John of Desmond, dismissed the 
larger proportion of his English forces. In consequence of this dan- 
gerous step, the earl of Kerry and his son, moved by their discontents 
against the deputy, broke into rebellion. They began by proceeding 
to dislodge the English from their garrisons, which they effected to 
some extent by the boldness and dexterity of their movements. First 
attacking the garrison of Adare, they slew the captain and most of 
the soldiers. They next marched to Lisconnel, in which there were 
only eight soldiers, as the place was supposed to be protected by its 
strength and difficulty of access. The entrance to this castle was se- 
cured by two gates, of which, upon the admission of any person, it was 
usual to make fast the outer before the inner was unbarred. Taking 
advantage of the circumstance, the earl bribed a woman who used 
every morning early to enter these gates, with a large basket of turf, 
wood, and other cumbrous necessaries, to let fall her basket in the 
outer gate, so as to prevent its being closed without delay. During 
the night he contrived to steal a strong party into a cabin which had 
very inconsiderately been allowed to stand close to the gate. All fell 
out favourably. The woman dropped her load, and, according to her 
instructions, uttered a loud cry; the men rushed in, and the porter 
was slain before he was aware of the nature of the incident, and in a 
few moments more, not a man of the garrison was alive. 

Encouraged by this success, the earl marched to Adnagh, which 
he thought to win by another stratagem. He hired for the purpose 
a young girl of loose character, who was to obtain admission, and when 
admitted, to act according to the earl's contrivance, so as to betray 
the fort. The capture of Lisconnel had, however, the effect of putting 
the captain on his guard. He soon contrived to draw from the young 
woman a confession of her perfidious intent, after which he caused 
her to be thrown from the walls. 

From this the earl proceeded to range through the counties of 
Waterford and Tipperary, in which he committed waste, and took spoil 
without meeting any resistance. 

The deputy receiving an account of these outrages drew together 
about four hundred men, and marched into Kerry; and coming to the 
wood of Lisconnell, where the earl was encamped with seven hundred, 
an encounter took place, in which the earl's army was put to flight and 
scattered away, leaving their spoil behind them. The earl, with a 
few more, escaped into the mountains of Sleulaugher. Marching 
on into the estates of Fitz-Maurice, the lord deputy seized and garri- 
soned the forts and strong places. Another severe defeat, which soon 
followed, completed the fall of the earl, who found himself unable to 
attempt any further resistance. He then applied to the earl of 
Ormonde, to whom he had done all the mischief in his power, to obtain 
a pardon for him. The earl of Ormonde had the generosity to in- 
tercede for him, and he was pardoned. 

The remaining events of his life have nothing remarkable enough 
to claim attention. He lived on in honour and prosperity, till the 
close of his eighty-eighth year, when he died at Lixnaw, on the 16th 



December, 15(10. He is said to have been the handsomest man of his 
time, and also remarkable to an advanced age for his great strength. 


DIED A. D. 1573. 

THE first lord Trimleston was Robert Barnewall, second son to Sir 
Christopher Barnewall, of Crickston, in Meath, who was chief justice of 
the king's bench in 1445 and 1446. The ancestors intermediate be- 
tween this eminent person and the fifth lord, had most of them acted their 
part in the troubled politics of their respective generations with credit, 
and were eminent in their day. We select the fifth lord for this brief 
notice, as he is mentioned in terms of high eulogy by the chroniclers. 
In 1561, he was joined in commission with the archbishop of Dublin 
and other lords, for the preservation of the peace of the pale, during 
the absence of lord deputy Sussex. Hollinshed gives the following 
account of him : " He was a rare nobleman, and endowed with sundry 
good gifts, who, having well wedded himself to the reformation of his 
miserable country, was resolved for the whetting of his wit, which 
nevertheless was pregnant and quick; by a short trade and method he 
took in his study to have sipt up the very sap of the common law, and 
upon this determination sailing into England, sickened shortly after at 
a worshipful matron's house at Combury, named Margaret Tiler, 
where he was, to the great grief of all his country, pursued with death, 
when the weal of the public had most need of his life." His death 
happened in 1573: he left no issue, and was succeeded by his brother 

DIED CIRC. 1563. 

THERE are few incidents connected with the life of James Fitz-Maurice, 
undetailed at length, in the later memoirs of this division of our work, 
as inextricably interwoven with the history of his time. And we should 
be enabled to compass all that may be particularly connected with his 
life and conduct, in a few sentences, were we not desirous to present 
our curious reader with some more distinct notice of a few of the more 
memorable characters which the incidents of the period have brought 
into the same field of view. That Fitz-Maurice was of the Desmond 
family seems agreed by historians ; but how, is not so agreed. Leland 
assumes him to be a brother to the 16th Earl. 

He first appears in active rebellion against the Queen's Government, 
and engaged in correspondence for aid, with the Pope and Philip of 
Spain. With these dispositions he repaired to Spain, where he was 
cordially received by Philip ; finding small chance of the desired aid, 
he journeyed to Rome, where he met with more promise of success. 
The Pope contrived to secure a double advantage in his agency. Italy 
was then, as it since lias been, infested with bands of robbers among its 
forests and mountain retreats. These received their pardon from Gre- 



gory, with a view to their more profitable employment in the service of 
the church. They were placed under the command of Fitz-Maurice, 
who in the meantime visited Paris, to regain his wife. During his absence 
this respectable band was by his desire conducted by one Stukely to await 
him in Spain. Stukely, landing on the coast of Portugal, was persuaded 
by King Sebastian to join his expedition against Morocco, with a pro- 
mise on his return to accompany him to Ireland with a strong force. 
Both Stukely and the king were slain in the battle which followed, 
and the remnant of the brigand troon which came back were conducted 
by Fitz-Maurice to Ireland, where his further career was cut short in 
a private brawl. 


WE may now conclude these notices, so far as they are simply poli- 
tical, with a very few contemporaneous notices of the more eminent 
and influential names which grace the record of these late wars, but of 
which the separate notice has not been within our plan. 

Among the distinguished names of this period, there is perhaps nona 
so justly celebrated as Raleigh : his unfortunate and erratic career 
may in some measure be said to have commenced in Ireland. While he 
obtained military honour and large estates in the close of this period, 
his name constantly recurs among the captains of the president of 
Munster, having borne a marked part in the desperate siege of Dunboy 
castle. His enterprising temper alone changed the current of his life, 
and prevented his having laid the foundation of an illustrious Irish 

Having obtained ample grants in the counties of Cork and Water- 
ford, out of the vast estates forfeited by the earl of Desmond, he built 
a house for himself in the town of Youghal. Of this we are enabled 
to give the following interesting extract : " The house in which Sir 
Walter is said to have resided, when at Youghal, is still standing, 
and in good preservation. It adjoins the churchyard, and is at present in 
the occupation of Sir Christopher Musgrave. It is a mansion of long 1 
and low proportions, not remarkable either for beauty or peculiarity 
of architecture, several of the apartments are of rather spacious dimen- 
sions, and finished with oaken panels and large chimney pieces well 
carved. In a garden attached to this residence, it is believed Raleigh 
planted the first potatoes grown in Ireland. According to a current 
tradition, the man intrusted with the care of the garden in the absence 
of Sir Walter, supposed that the apple or seed, was the esculent part of 
the novel production ; and finding the taste unpleasant, bestowed no 
farther thought on the plantation until upon digging the ground for 
some other crop, the root was found to yield a wholesome and palatable 
species of food, of more importance to the future condition of Ireland 
than all the political schemes, wars, and encroaching settlements of 
queen Elizabeth, her councillors, and armies."* 

To the particulars in this extract, Lewis's Topographical Dictionary 

* Brewer. 


enables us to add a few interesting 1 particulars. The place of Sir 
Walter is now called Myrtle-grove, and is or was recently the property 
of the Hayman family. The panelling of the drawing-room is re- 
markable for its rich carving. " In removing the panelling of one of 
the rooms some years since, an aperture in the wall was discovered, 
in which were found several old books, one bound in oak and printed 
at Mantua, 1 479> consisting of two parts, one in black-letter, a history of 
the Bible, with coloured initials : the other an ecclesiastical history 
by John Schallus, professor of physic at Hernfield, dedicated to prince 

Sir Walter Raleigh's Irish career began under the earl of Ormonde 
and was pursued in the wars of Munster, where he gained more in fortune 
than reputation. After this, returning for a while to England, he rose 
in the queen's favour, and served with distinction in many enterprizes. 
In 1 584, he is traced in England serving as M. P. for Devon, and leading 
a life of most intense study, cultivating and patronizing every science 
and liberal art. The following interval is not very distinctly traced, 
but we are inclined to fix upon it as the period of his residence in 
Ireland, we should conclude from the above-mentioned particulars, 
with the design of settling ; and this seems confirmed by the additional 
fact that, in 1588, he was mayor of Youghal. But it appears that 
the management of his large Irish property required an exclusive at- 
tention which ill suited with his romantic and restless nature, and 
that the rents were far below the apparent value of the property. He 
returned to England with a mind filled with specious and glittering 
prospects, and soon after obtained an appointment from Elizabeth to the 
government of Jersey. He had failed in his endeavours to excite the 
mind of the prudent queen, by the sanguine representations of foreign 
discoveries of visionary realms, which lay before his imagination with 
the brightness and solidity of the gorgeous vapours of a glorious sun- 
set, and his fancy tinged even realities with a dream-like aspect, which 
rendered them questionable to sober minds. In his account of one of 
his voyages be says, " Those who are desirous to discover and to see 
many nations, may be satisfied within this river which bringeth forth 
so many arms and branches, leading to several countries and provinces 
about two thousand miles east and west, and eight hundred north and 
south, and of these the most rich either in gold or other merchan- 
dizes. The common soldier shall here fight for gold, and pay himself 
instead of pence with plates half a foot broad, whereas, he breaketh 
his bones in other wars for provant and penury." During the latter 
years of queen Elizabeth, the name of Raleigh is illustrious among the 
splendid constellation of glorious names, which raise the literary glory 
of her reign so high. Shakspeare, Johnson, Beaumont, and Fletcher, 
with their contemporaries, were among his familiar acquaintance. 

It was some time after the siege of Dunboy, that Sir Richard Boyle 
was sent into England with an account of that transaction, by Sir 
George Carew, who advised him to purchase Raleigh's Irish estates. 
A meeting for the purpose took place in England, between Boyle and 
Raleigh, and Cecil introduced them at Carew's request, and acted as 
moderator in the transaction, which ended in a bargain by which 
Kaleigh conveyed his Irish estate to Boyle for the sum of 1500, the 



land being about 12,000 acres in extent. It is a curious circumstance 
that some years after Sir Walter obtained his liberty, after twelve years 
confinement in the Tower, at the expense of the same sum, with which 
he purchased the intercession of the profligate Villiers. This long 
interval of confinement was rendered more honourable by Raleigh's 
genius than his years of liberty by military exploits of which the 
character was little chivalric or humane, and foreign enterprizes too 
much like buccaneering expeditions to be satisfactory to a mind like 
his. It was immediately after the transaction above related, that he 
became involved in a charge of treason, made by lord Cobham, and 
too well-known for detail. Of his innocence we entertain no doubts. 
His long confinement was mitigated by the free exercise of an uncon- 
fined imagination ; the gloomy cell was peopled by his boundless fancy, 
and the Hesperian Isles of discovery lay between his contemplation 
and the grim walls which cooped him in. With much difficulty, and 
the exertion of considerable influence, he revived a plan which he had 
long entertained for the colonization of New Guiana ; in an unlucky 
hour, surrounded by the evil influence of Spain, and the unfavourable 
dispositions of the king and his principal ministers, and under a 
sentence of death which made his life answerable for the result of a 
doubtful adventure, Raleigh was appointed to command an expedition 
for the purpose of founding a settlement in Guiana. The result of 
this is familiar in every English history; it failed in such a manner as 
to wreck the fortunes and implicate the character of the unfortunate 
leader. He had embarked his entire property in it; his son who sailed 
as one of his captains, was slain in an attack upon St Thomas ; his 
friend and second in command shot himself in despair, and Raleigh 
returned to a bloody death from the axe of the executioner : he was 
ordered to execution on his sentence twelve years before. 

Among the eminent names of this period, of whom our regular plan 
cannot properly be said to admit of a distinct memoir, there is none whose 
claim to notice stands higher than Charles Blount, lord Mountjoy, by 
whose distinguished services the Ulster rebellion was brought to its 
conclusion. Our life of Hugh, earl of Tyrone, may indeed be con- 
sidered as containing the most important passages of the life of this 
eminent soldier, and we shall here endeavour to supply some addi- 
tional particulars which we were in that article compelled to omit. 
Charles Blount, the second son of lord Mountjoy, was born about 1563. 
He was educated at Oxford, and designed for the bar. In the uni- 
versity, the fairest hopes were encouraged by his rapid progress in 
literature, as well as by the habits of intensely diligent study which 
became the habit of his life, and strongly marked his character. Early 
in his youth he professed the honourable resolution, to raise again the 
sinking honours of his family. His grandfather had dilapidated a 
good fortune in the profuse and luxurious court of Henry ; his father 
evidently a weak man, instead of improving his impoverished estate 
by industry and economy, had recourse to the chimeras of alchemy, 
which then as for previous ages continued to impose on mankind, and 
to beggar thousands with the promise of visionary wealth. His elder 
brother's extravagance still further reduced the fortune of the family. 
Charles began early to manifest the indications of a wise, honourable, 



and aspiring temper. Moryson mentions, on his own authority, that 
" in his childhood, when his parents would have his picture, he chose 
to be drawn with a trowel in his hand, and this motto Ad recedifi- 
candam antiquam domum" Moryson also mentions that, on leaving 
Oxford university very young, he was still " not well grounded," but 
that he repaired the deficiency in London by obtaining the most skil- 
ful instructors in the languages, history, mathematics, cosmography, 
and natural philosophy. In these pursuits he took chief delight, 
spending much of his time in canvassing subjects of doubt and diffi- 
culty, and practising his memory on the most subtle objections with 
their solutions. But his chief delight was in theology, ever the most 
attractive in early youth to minds of wide and grasping range : he 
loved much to study both the fathers and the schoolmen. For this 
latter taste he accounted by mentioning that, " being in his youth 
much addicted to popery, so much as through prejudicate opinion no 
writer of our time could have diverted him from it, yet, by observing 
the fathers' consent, and the schoolmen's idle and absurd distinctions, 
he began first to distaste many of their opinions, and then by reading 
our authors, to be confirmed in the reform doctrine." 

His introduction 'Jo court was curious. Having come to London lie 
repaired to Whitehall to see the court. The queen chanced to be at 
dinner, when Blount's figure, then strikingly graceful, caught her eye, 
not the slowest to discern the attractions of manly beauty. She imme- 
diately inquired his name, and, on being informed who he was, called 
him to her, gave him her hand to kiss, and desired him to come 
often to court, with the assurance that she would keep his fortune in 

The queen kept her word. After a few years' waiting, during 
which he was employed from time to time, he was appointed to the 
government of Portsmouth. In 1594 his brother's death took place, 
and he succeeded to the title of Mountjoy, with the remains of a 
wasted property, amounting to 1000 marks a-year. This, though 
small, was sufficient to supply the expenses of a moderate young noble- 
man who had no family to maintain. Two or three years after, he 
served under lord Essex in an expedition to the Azores. We have 
already mentioned in a former page, that the friendship of Essex was 
rendered unprofitable by the intense jealousy with which he looked on 
the queen's favour, which he wished entirely to engross. To this 
jealousy it was owing that, when the queen was afterwards desirous 
to send Mountjoy to Ireland, Essex, not content with obtaining the 
appointment for himself, endeavoured to represent Mountjoy as a 
bookish dreamer, unfit for that arduous and responsible charge. 
Nevertheless, it is mentioned by Moryson, that the high qualities of 
his character had so struck " two old counsellors of Ireland," that 
they long before pointed him out as the person most likely to suppress 
the rebellion of Tyrone. The history of his Irish campaign, by which 
the prognostication of the two old gentlemen was amply verified, we 
have fully given. King James, who succeeded immediately on the 
close of this rebellion, created him earl of Devonshire. His life is 
said to have been embittered by unfortunate love. In his early days 
he had engaged the affections of a daughter of the earl of Essex ; but 



he was not felt by the lady's father to be a match equal to their expec- 
tations. According to the tyrannical usage of the time, she was re- 
luctantly married to lord Rich. The consequence was unhappy, and 
leaves a blot, the only one, on the memory of Mountjoy; the cruel 
award of the tyrannical father was repaired by a crime. The divorce 
of lady Rich followed. After which she was married to Mountjoy, 
who lived but a few months after. 

Moryson, from whom we have already drawn some interesting par- 
ticulars of this eminent commander, enables us to add a few more of 
no small interest respecting his person and character: " He was of 
stature tall, and of very comly proportion; his skin faire, with little 
haire on his body, which haire was of colour blackish, (or inclining 
to blacke,) and thin on his head, where he wore it short, except a 
locke under his left eare, which he nourished the time of this warre, 
and, being woven up, laid it in his necke under his ruffe. The crown 
of his head was in his latter days something bald, as the fore part 
naturelly curled; he onely used the barber for his head; for the haire 
on his chin (growing slowly) and that on his cheeks and throat, he 
used almost daily to cut it with his sizers, keeping it so low with his 
owne hand that it could scarce bee discerned, as likewise himselfe 
kept the haire of his upper lippe something short, onely suffering that 
under his nether lippe to grow at length and full ; yet, some two or 
three yeeres before his death, he nourished a sharpe and short pike- 
denant on his chin. His forehead was broad and high; his eyes 
greate, blacke, and lovely; his nose something low and short, a little 
blunt in the end ; his chin round ; his cheeks full, round, and ruddy ; 
his countenance chearefull, and amiable as ever I beheld of any man ; 
onely some two yeeres before his death, upon discontentment, his face 
grew thinne, his ruddy colour failed, growing something swarthy, and 
his countenance was sad and dejected; his arms were longe, and of 
proportionable bignes ; his hands longe and white ; his fingers great at 
the endes ; and his leggs somewhat little, which he gartered ever ebone 
the knee, wearing the garter of St George's order under his left knee, 
except when he was booted, and so wore not that garter, but a blue 
ribbon instead thereof above his knee, and hanging over his boote." 

To this curious description of the man, we are enabled to add one 
not less so of his manners and habits: " Further," writes his bio- 
grapher, " in his nature he was a close concealer of his secrets, for 
which cause lest they should be revealed, and because he loved not to 
be importuned with suites ; a free speaker, or a popular man, could 
not long continue his favourite. He was sparing in speech, but when 
he was drawn to it most judicious therein, if not eloquent. He never 
used swearing, but rather hated it, which I have often seen him con- 
trol at his table with a frowning brow and an angry cast of his black 
eye. He was slow to anger, but, once provoked, spake home. His 
great temper was most seene in his wise carriage between the court 
factions of his time. He was a gentle enemy, easily pardoning, and 
calmly pursuing revenge ; and a friend, if not cold, yet not to be used 
much out of the high way, and something too much reserved towards 
his dearest minions." To this admirably drawn character no comment 
is wanting. Judicious, refined in taste, of acute and quick understand- 
i. 2 o Ir- 



ing, unswayed by violent passions, of a kindly and mild temper, but, 
like many such, self-centred in his affection for others, Mountjoy was 
well fitted for a scene of action, which was rendered perplexed and 
intricate, not more by the moving chaos of forces which were to be 
checked and subdued, than by the various cross-currents of passion, 
prejudice, and opposite interests, which were to be neutralized or con- 

We shall not prolong this postscript farther than to make mention 
of one, who, though in no way connected either with politics or lite- 
rature, has left a name rendered memorable by extreme longevity. 
Elinor, countess of Desmond, was daughter of the Fitz-Geralds of 
Drumana in the county of Waterford, and widow of James, thirteenth 
earl of Desmond, in the reign of Edward IV. She lived till some 
time in the reign of James I. The ruin of the house of Desmond 
reduced her to poverty, as no provision was made to save her jointure 
from the spoil. On this occasion she made her appearance in the 
court of Elizabeth, who, we presume, redressed the grievance. She 
was at the time 140, and seemed to retain considerable vigour and 
animation. She seems to have held her jointure on the Desmond 
estate till then. Her life, indeed, seems to have been held by some 
renewable tenure, as she is mentioned by Bacon to have twice renewed 
her teeth, each renewal having perhaps been accompanied by a reno- 
vation of vitality. It is indeed remarkable, in most persons who live 
to ages beyond the ordinary duration of human life, that there does 
not, for the most part, appear any proportional mark of the wreck of 
time. Whether this be owing to a greater fund of the vital prin- 
ciple, (whatever this may be,) or to a slower progress of the changes 
of life, or to renovation, such as the above fact would seem to imply, 
such is the fact. Of this the writer of these pages has known some 
examples, several persons, of eighty and upwards, not seemingly 
advanced further in decay than others of sixty-five and seventy; and 
in the same way, at earlier ages, the principle is to be traced, so that 
some appear to be advancing faster than others to the common event 
of life, and all moving, as it were, with different rates of progress in 
periods of different duration. Mention is made of the countess of 
Desmond by various writers, none of whom furnish materials for the 
biographer. Wajpole makes mention of a picture of her, which is also 
noticed by Pennant as a remarkable picture, in the earl of Kinnoul's 
collection at Dupplin Castle. 


IT will be hardly needful to account for the scanty selection to which 
we feel compelled, of the ecclesiastical and literary classes of the pre- 
ceding period of Irish history. Though Keligion, taken generally, had 
always more or less influence in the course of events, this cannot be 
truly said of the Ecclesiastical body, as holding any distinct or cogni- 
zable rank or official place. Christianity was then existing in the un- 
settled form in which it emanated from its first apostolic missionaries; 
contracting, as it spread, controversies and those heresies which at last 
found their common sewer in the double creed of Pius IY. In an 
early age the primitive faith, first found in the "Isle of Saints by 
Palladius and Patrick, the Scoti in Christo Credentes" began soon to be 
somewhat loosely connected with the more advanced corruptions of the 
English church, (already in connection with the Roman,) through the 
medium of their Danish and Norwegian conquerors. 

But this adulteration can hardly be said to have any settled con- 
firmation or distinct existence till late in the 12th century, when the 
Norman conquest may be said to have prostrated the land with its 
people (already prepared), at the feet of the Pope. 

About 1172 the Romish church, for which the way had been long 
in gradual preparation by a succession of slow intrusions, was, with the 
more direct authority of Henry, raised to the ascendency, by a compact 
with Pope Adrian, in virtue of which this monarch's claim to the island 
was pretended. Of this revolution, admissibly less considerable by 
reason of the long accumulation of growing corruptions from the purity 
of the earlier faith, the effects are sufficiently traceable in the histori- 
cal memoirs and statements of the following five centuries. 

Of the long line of ecclesiastical dignitaries who took their parts in 
the dissension and political conflict of that unsettled and uncivilized 
period to the termination of Queen Elizabeth's reign, we cannot, with- 
out vainly loading our pages with most unprofitable notices and obscure 
names, offer any distinct details. We select a few of the more eminent, 
who either have obtained distinction by their conduct in the earlier 
struggles between the Romish and Reformed churches, or who, by their 
leading abilities and official position, came to be employed in the gov- 
ernment of the country. 

Respecting the few literary or learned characters belonging to the 
same period, we must observe a similar rule. Of these, most should 
be numbered with the ecclesiastical classes ; many, with the old chroni- 



clers, whose lives have little interest though their records are of much 
authority. With regard to literature in Ireland we shall, therefore, on 
the whole have little to swell the few remaining sheets of this first 
division of our work. Still, in a land which had, in earlier times, been 
the favoured seat of learning in Europe there could not fail to linger 
many isolated gleams of mind, shedding their feeble glimmer, little ob- 
served and unappreciated in the mist and haze of surrounding bar- 
barism. A few eminent names, in the moral and intellectual dearth of 
those drear times, will show that the lamp of scientific inquiry was even 
still burning in its lone cell, amid the clash and tumult of plundering 
chiefs and conspiring demagogues, kept alert and effective by the in- 
trigues of Roman ambition or Spanish enmity. 

In the few ecclesiastical personages to be noticed in the following 
brief division, it will appear that, while the long early struggle for the 
establishment of an absolute ultramontane ascendency was changing its 
character, by laying aside the arms of fleshly warfare and substituting 
the arms and weapons of spiritual intrigue and ecclesiastical domina- 
tion, a new power was introduced with the entrance of the Reforma- 
tion ; the restoration of the lost elements of apostolical faith, fell amidst 
the vast undigested mass of the accumulated heresies of medieval 
Christianity, and instead of the warring cabinet and the strife of arms, 
gradually awakened sectarian rancour, and transferred the strife to 
human hearts. A spurious patriotism supplied fuel for spurious reli- 
gion ; and as, unhappily, the nominal professors of the true religion are 
not necessarily true to their profession, the sin of one side was recipro- 
cated by want of charity on the other. The scale of justice was, for one 
sad interval balanced by indiscriminate fear and prejudice, and the seed 
of future trouble committed to time, for distant retribution. But these 
must be the burthen of a future page. 

As the period under immediate notice, in both its political and eccle- 
siastical aspect, mainly offers a view of the conflicts for dominion be- 
tween the papacy, pursued, according to the universal policy of the Ro- 
man see, in Ireland as elsewhere, against the growing ascendency of the 
Reformation, it will be our simplest course, and (so far as respects 
this contest) the least encumbered by controversial discussion, before 
we enter upon our selection, to premise a brief sketch comprising a few 
of such of the earlier ecclesiastics whose lives offer some indication of 
the stages of this struggle of hostile churches. A few pages will thus 
dismiss the subject of many painful sheets. 

Early in the seventh century we find the early apostolic faith 
yet lingering as nearly first taught in Ireland retaining its first 
authority from the Holy Scriptures; and only modified by a few of 
those earlier controversies which had obtained general possession of the 
Christian world. The Papacy, in its later sense, as now understood, 
had not yet been developed in the metropolitan see of Rome. It may 
therefore conduce to order, to commence with some one or two notices, 
taken from this earlier era. At the time thus referred to, Fursey, de- 
scendant from a royal stock, by the license of his uncle, founded a 
monastery in an island called Rathmat, near Lough-orbsen, in the 
county of Galway, with all the necessary cells and appendages belong- 
ing to it. There are now no remains of this building, but there is a 



parish church near this lake called, in honour of him, Kill-Fursa. He 
continued to preach the gospel for about twelve years in Ireland ; and 
about the year 637 he went to England. There, by the assistance of 
Sigebert, king of the East Saxons, he founded a monastery in Suffolk 
to which he ultimately induced Sigebert to retire, and to exchange the 
regal for the monastic life. Sigebert afterwards being compelled to 
witness a battle, fought against Pendo, king of the Mercians, and hold- 
ing (says Florence of Worcester) only a wand in his hand, was slain, 
together with his kinsman Egric, to whom he had resigned his king- 
dom. This monastery was afterwards adorned with magnificent build- 
ings and valuable presents, but Eursey, to avoid the horrors and dan- 
gers of war, committed the care of his abbey to his brother, Foilan, 
and two other priests, and, accompanied by his other brother, Ultan, 
went over to France, where he founded a new abbey, in the diocese of 
Paris. A life of Fursey has been published in French, by a learned 
doctor of the Sorbonne, which has since been translated into Latin, in 
which he is described as having gone to Kome before the foundation of 
the abbey of Laigny; and the conversations which took place between 
him and the Pope are detailed. It is also stated, that the Pope conse- 
crated both him and his brother, Foilan, bishops, though without ap- 
pointing them to any sees. Their journey back is then described 
through Austrasia, Flanders, Brabant, Liege, and Namure; their meet- 
ing with St. Gertrude, who formed so strong a friendship for Fursey, 
that she accompanied them in their subsequent journeys, and at length 
founded a monastery for her fellow-travellers at Fossis, and made Ultan 
abbot of it. Foilan continued to travel through Flanders, boldly 
preaching Christianity wherever he went, and overturning the pagan 
altars. At length he, with three of his fellow-labourers, gained the 
crown of martyrdom, having perished by the swords of the infuriated 
pagans. Fursey fearlessly continued his labours, and induced large 
numbers of the courtiers of the king of Austrasia to embrace Christianity. 
He then proceeded to the court of Clovis, where he was received with 
great honour, and was highly esteemed for his uncompromising bold- 
ness in rebuking the vices of his king and his courtiers. Fursey died 
at Peronne, in Picardy, on the 13th of January (which day has been 
consecrated to his memory), in the year 650, or as others say, in the 
year 653. Under this year the author of the Annals of the Abbey of 
Boyle places his death according to the following passage: "Anno 053, 
Fursu Paruna quievit." In the year 653, Fursey went to rest at 
Peronne. Mirceus states that on his death-bed " he bequeathed the 
care of his abbey of Laigny to St. Eloquius, an Irishman, who after- 
wards perceiving faction to have arisen among his disciples, retired, 
with a few friars, to Grimac, on the river Isarake." 

Fursey wrote, according to Dempster, De Vita Monastica, Lib. 1. 
There is also a prophecy, written in the Irish language, still extant, 
which is ascribed to him. 

Nearly at the same period Adamnanus, abbot of Hy, was sent on an 
embassy into Britain to Alfred, king of Northumberland, and, while he 
continued there, became a convert to the views of Rome respecting the 
true time for celebrating Easter. " After his return home," says Bede, 
" he used his utmost endeavours to guide the monks of Hy, and all 


those who were subject to the said monastery, into that beaten road of 
truth which he himself walked in, and of which he made a sincere pro- 
fession, but was not able to prevail." He then sailed into Ireland, 
where he had better success. He composed, according to Ware, Vitam 
St. Bathildis Clodovcei Francoruum Regis Uxoris. He also wrote 
De Vita ColumboB, Lib. iii., Poemata Varia, and a description of the 
Holy Land, which was afterwards published at Ingolstad under the fol- 
lowing title, in 1619; Adamnanni Scoto-Hiberni Abbatis ccleberrimi 
de situ Ferrce Sanctce, et Quarundam aliorum Locorum ut Alexandrite 
et Constantinopoleos, Lib. iii.; Ante Annas Nonagentos et amplius con- 
scripti, et nunc primum in lucem prolati, studio Jacobi Gretseri /Soc. 
Jesu Theologi Ingolstadii, 1619. Bede states the circumstances which 
gave rise to this work as follows: "Arculph, a French bishop, who 
had travelled to Jerusalem merely to visit those holy places, and having 
taken a view of the whole Land of Promise, travelled to Damascus, 
Constantinople, Alexandria, and to many islands in the sea. Thence 
returning to his native country on shipboard, he was driven by a violent 
tempest on the western coasts of Britain, and at length came to the 
before-mentioned servant of Christ, Adamnanus; who, finding him 
well versed in the Scriptures, and of great knowledge in the Holy 
Land, joyfully entertained him, and with great pleasure hearkened to 
what he said, insomuch that everything he had affirmed to have seen in 
those holy places, worthy to be preserved in memory, Adamnanus com- 
mitted to writing and composed a book profitable for many, and espe- 
cially for such who, being at a great distance from the places where the 
patriarchs and apostles resided, have only a knowledge of them from 
books. Adamnanus also presented this book to king Alfred, by whose 
bounty it fell into the hands of more inferior people to be read. The 
writer also himself, being rewarded with many presents, was sent back 
into his own country." Bede gives a short abstract of the book in two 
chapters. Our abbot is said to have written, besides, some Epistles, A 
Rule for Monks, De Paschate Legitimo, and the Canons of Adamnanus. 
He died on the 23d of September, 704, in the 74th, or, as others say, 
the 80th year of his age. His remains were removed to Ireland in 727, 
but were conveyed back again, three years after, to the monastery of Hy. 

From this ancient ecclesiastic we may pass on to a somewhat later 
period. Previous to the llth century the Irish church, though far 
from retaining the purity of its origin, had still preserved its indepen- 
dence. It had been largely infested by foreign missionaries, and 
harassed by numerous local disorders fatal alike to religion and civi- 
lization; its condition was unregulated and fragmentary; its bishops 
unattached; there was a general absence of diocesan partition. AH 
this, with a consequent laxity of profession and conduct, tended to 
prepare the way for the changes then enforced by the influence and 
authority of the English government between the second and the 
eighth Henry. 

As a main instrument toward the approximation of the change con- 
templated by the Pope, we may briefly notice the conduct of the first 
legate, sent 1106 by Paschal II. This man, whose name was Gilbert, 
is mentioned as the first who laboured actively in the conversion of the 
Irish clergy to the customs and clergy of Rome. With this view his 



writings, then published extensively and partly still extant, were elo- 
quent in the advocacy of papal supremacy, by the specious interpreta- 
tions of Scripture still applied for the same purposes. In a volume 
entitled the " State of the Church," he adds details for the information 
of the Irish bishops and clergy, its correct order and constitution, ac- 
cording to the rules and canons of Rome, and teaches the due methods, 
dresses, requisites, and rites for the observance of devotion and cele- 
bration of mass. This had at the time much influence. The decline 
of piety and general disorder already mentioned, favourably inclined 
several of the most respectable of the Irish church to the design. Nor 
was it less influential towards its promotion, that the same process of 
transition has long before set in, and fixed its ground in England, 
where Anselm and Lanfranc gave their aid and sanction to the Irish 
Prelate Gilbert. 

We may now proceed to notice a few of the most conspicuous persons 
who had part in the religions, politics, or literature of the country in 
this period, classed under (1.) Ecclesiastics connected with politics; 
(2.) Clerical literates; and (3.) Laymen connected with literature; 
giving, as by customary right, precedence to the church. 


DIED A. D. 1180. 

HE was the youngest son of Murtogh O'Toole, chief of Imaile, in 
the county now called Wicklow, the territory of the celebrated septs 
of the Tooles and Byrnes, which are with some reason represented as 
of British origin.* In Lawrence the two coeval and kindred streams 
were united, as his mother was an O'Byrne.f 

At the early age of ten, it was his fortune to be delivered by his 
father according to the customs of that barbarous time, as a hostage 
to the king of Leinster, the notorious Dermod MacMurragh. Of 
Dermod's savage disposition the reader is aware. Young Lawrence 
O'Toole was doomed to know it by experience: ever involved in 
hostility with the surrounding chiefs, and always actuated by the 
bitterest rancour in his enmities, the brutal prince of Leinster, in 
some moment of inflamed animosity, resolved to make the innocent 
boy, who was even then distinguished by early genius, the victim of 
his father's offence ; and with this execrable design caused him to be 
conveyed to a deserted and barren spot, and left to meet and suffer 
the horrors of want and exposure, under the care of such wretches as 
were fit to be the instruments of king Dermod's enmity. In such a 
condition, the sufferings of the tender child can easily be conceived. 
But the eye of a guardian providence was awake ; his father quickly 
received intelligence of the deplorable situation of his child: Murtogh 

* See the life of Feagh MacHugh O'Byrne. f Dalton. 


had the feeling to resent, and the spirit to retaliate the cruel indig- 
nity. He seized on twelve of Dermod's most noted followers, and 
shutting them in prison, he sent word to the tyrant that he would cut 
off their heads, unless they should be immediately redeemed by his 
son's release. The menace was effectual: however little regard Der- 
mod might entertain for the lives of his men, yet as he chiefly relied 
on the favour of the populace, he could not without serious detriment 
to his nearest interest, hazard his low popularity by abandoning his 
faithful partizans to the revenge of an enemy. At the same time, 
as Lawrence was the pledge of a treaty, he would not give him up to 
his father. The matter was therefore compromised by placing him 
in the hands of the bishop of Glendalough. 

The incident was not unfavourable to the disposition and future 
fortunes of the youth. The bishop received the child of his noble 
neighbour with benevolent hospitality, and while he remained in his 
hands, had him carefully instructed in the principles of the Christian 
religion by his chaplain ; and after twelve days, he was sent back to 
his father. Soon after he was taken by his father on a visit to the 
bishop, very probably to return thanks for the kindness he had received, 
and revisit a spot which must needs have powerfully affected his young 
imagination. On this occasion it is mentioned, that his father pro- 
posed to cast lots which of his sons should adopt the ecclesiastical 
calling, on which young Lawrence said with a smile, " Father, there is 
no necessity for casting lots ; if you allow me, I will embrace it with 
pleasure."* The offer gave much satisfaction both to the bishop and 
the father of Lawrence, who took him by the right hand and dedicated 
him to God and St Kevin. 

The pious youth was then entirely committed to the careful tuition 
of the bishop and his worthy chaplain ; and not often in the uncertain 
allotments of human character, has it occurred that the profession and 
the heart were so well harmonized. The temper of the youth was 
constitutionally pious and contemplative ; he was gifted with a sensible, 
yet bold firm and lofty spirit, and with no small share of that ideality 
which gives external scenery a powerful influence over the breast : and 
the scene in which he was now to receive daily lessons in piety and 
goodness was happily adapted to such a frame of mind. Here 
with the mingled piety and superstition of his age, he walked the 
solemn mountain-vale as we explore some ancient cathedral, among 
the time-worn inscriptions and decaying effigies of old-world piety 
and virtue: its picturesque gloom was tinged with the coloured radi- 
ance of old tradition, which the broad daylight of recent ages had not 
yet dispelled, or the profane humour of modern showmen turned into 
caricature. A gleam of tender and sacred recollection invested the 
footsteps of the good saint who fled hither from the allurements of 
the world. In such a scene it was, and amid the atmosphere of such 
impressions and influences, that the youthful Lawrence O'Toole con- 
tinued to grow in knowledge and piety as he advanced in years, until 
the fame of his learning and the lustre of his virtues, added grace and 

* Lanigan's Eccles. Hist., Vol. iv. 



sanctity to a place already so venerated for the memory of its good 
and holy men. 

When he was twenty-five years of age, he was elected abbot of the 
monastery of Glendalough. Of this monastery, Dr Lanigan says, that 
it was distinct from the bishopric, with which it has not unfrequentlv 
been confounded. It was very rich, and had usually been placed under 
the government of abbots chosen for the rank and power of their 
families; a precaution rendered necessary for the protection of the 
surrounding district, by the predatory and encroaching- temper of the 

In this high and influential station, the value of his character was 
soon extensively manifested, his instructions were effectively diffused by 
that moral energy of character which appears to be his distinguishing 
feature in history; and his precepts were beautifully illustrated by the 
practice of all the Christian virtues. With a wise anxiety for the 
social amelioration of his country, he exerted himself with industrious 
zeal to civilize the manners and correct the barbarous habits of the 
people ; and with an equally intense solicitude he watched with a pater- 
nal care over their wants and interests; and, as the people are most 
likely to retain the memory of those attentions which they can best 
comprehend, Lawrence O'Toole has ever been especially praised for 
his charity to the poor and needy. A famine, which lasted for four 
years during this period of his life, gave ample exercise to this virtue, 
and doubtless impressed it deeply on the hearts of thousands, to whom 
during so dreadful a visitation he was the dispenser of mercy.* 

On the death of the bishop of Glendalough, the dignity was pres- 
singly offered to the youthful abbot; but conscious of the immaturity 
of his years, and sensible of the importance of the charge, he declined 
the office, and continued in the faithful discharge of his duties until 
the death of the bishop of Dublin, in 1161, whom he then succeeded. 
It is at this period that his life in some measure falls into the general 
history of the country; and being already fully detailed so far as 
detail can have importance, may be more briefly noticed. 

Shortly after his elevation to the see of Dublin, the bishop assumed 
the habit of an order of French monks famed for the severity of their 
discipline and the sanctity of their lives ; and ever after wore under 
his episcopal habiliments, the hair shirt prescribed by the severe dis- 
cipline of that ascetic order. He also observed its rule of keeping 
strict silence for certain prescribed hours, and always attended with 
his canons at the midnight offices in Christ Church; after which, "he 
often remained alone in the church, praying and singing psalms until 
daylight, when he used to take a round in the churchyard or cemetry, 
chaunting the prayers for the faithful departed." To this his histo- 
rians add striking examples of austere abstinence, which, however 
they may be estimated by the theology of more enlightened times, can- 
not be erroneously referred to the sincere and devoted faith of this 
good Christian, who acted according to the best lights which it pleased 
the Father of all lights to bestow upon his age. Less doubtful was 

* Lanigan, 175. 


his eminent practice of those pure and holy charities which the scrip- 
ture teaches us to regard as the " fruits of theSpirit;" his regard to the 
morals, religion, and sustenance of the poor, was only bounded by his 
means. Every day he took care to see fed in his presence from thirty 
to sixty needy persons. In the severe famines which were the conse- 
quence of the desolating wars of his time, and which on one occasion 
lasted for three years, he daily fed five hundred persons. 

Many indeed are the accounts of beneficence and of high but rigid 
sanctity, which, scattered loosely among the doubtful mass of the idlest 
traditions, are yet in O'Toole's case authenticated by their character- 
istic consistency, and which combine to throw a venerable lustre round 
his memory. It is stated by historians, that in his day the absolution 
which the church assumed the power to give, had been for a time 
prostituted with lavish indifference to the state of the heart or the 
nature of the crime; archbishop O'Toole exerted himself to repress an 
abuse so dangerous, by refusing to give the pardon of the church in 
certain extreme cases unfit to be mentioned in this work. 

While in the see of Dublin, the general character of his life and 
actions has been placed in a conspicuous light by the historical magni- 
tude and importance of events in which his name occupies a respect- 
able place. These events have been told already in the political 
series of this period. The reader has already seen, that while he was 
the life and spirit of his country in its efforts to resist invasion, he 
was no less an object of respect to the English. Above the low level 
of the wisdom and patriotism of that degenerate day of Irish history, 
the exalted sense and spirit of the archbishop rose pre-eminent. 
About the real character of his patriotism there can be little doubt : 
there is but too much justice in the casuistry which finds a large pro- 
portion of base alloy in the purest seeming course of public conduct : 

" Whate'er of noblest and of best 
Man's soul can reach, is clogged and prest 
By low considerations, that adhere 

This doctrine may be easily pushed too far. In our day it might be 
referred to party or to sect, but it was then otherwise. To under- 
stand this rightly, it must be observed that archbishop O'Toole, in 
common with the other Irish bishops of his day, had one prominent 
object in view to bring the Irish church into the jurisdiction of 
the Roman see. For this, the clearest and shortest way was the 
subjection of the country to England, of which the church acknow- 
ledged the supremacy of Rome. It was for this reason that in the 
course of these wars, the Irish bishops, with a large party among 
their clergy, are to be traced in constant negotiations favourable to 
the interests of the settlement. O'Toole, who worked more than all 
of them for their common purpose, alone spurned the unworthy means ; 
and rejecting the fiendish illusion of doing evil that good might come, 
he boldly put himself forward in behalf of his own country, and by his 
spirited exertions organized at least the show of resistance. It was, 
however, in vain, in the absence of all national spirit and of all sense 

* Faust, p. 42. 



of common cause, that this patriotic archbishop endeavoured to infuse 
life and unity into that senseless chaos of provincial feuds, interests, 
and tyrannies ; as among the evil " wo^uxougaviq," the aristocracy of 
squabbling thrones, principalities, and powers, one breast only was 
found to catch a gleam of the patriot's spirit the ill-fated Roderic ; 
and Lawrence O'Toole, when the hopes of the warrior's arm were 
found unavailing, still found a duty not unworthy in the office of a 
mediator between the conqueror and the fallen foe. It should not 
indeed be left unmentioned in proof of his eminent and conspicuous 
virtues, that Giraldus, who looked on every thing native with a pre- 
judiced eye, calls him "a just and good man;" nor is it less to his 
honour, that Henry, who was known to dislike him for his bold and 
uncompromising patriotism, could not help respecting his person. He 
was indeed so much employed s the medium of the most difficult and 
delicate negotiations with the hostile powers during the struggle, and 
with the English court afterwards, that, considering the looseness of 
public faith, and the capricious and arbitrary deviations which mark 
the conduct of the tyrants of that age, one cannot help pausing 
to wonder and to conceive more distinctly the state of circumstances, 
and the assemblage of impressive virtues which seemed as with a 
charmed influence to carry the worthy archbishop unharmed, unin- 
sulted, and without fear, through hostile camps and courts. On one 
occasion, when Dublin was exposed to the horrors and revolting atro- 
cities of a stormed city, some of our readers will recollect the conduct 
of the archbishop, equally characteristic of the saint, the hero, and 
the patriot. While all was devastation, fury and terror, flight and 
helpless panic, while the streets rung with the hurried step of trem- 
bling citizens, and the gutters ran red with life-blood, " in the midst of 
all the confusion and massacre," says Mr Moore, " the good St Law- 
rence was seen exposing himself to every danger, and even as his 
biographer describes him, dragging from the enemies hands the palpi- 
tating bodies of the slain, to have them decently interred. He also 
succeeded at great risk, in prevailing upon the new authorities to 
retain most of the clergy in their situations, and recovered from the 
plunderers the books and ornaments which had belonged to the different 

Henry, it has been mentioned, disliked him; but his dislike was of 
that pardonable description which kings or parties may be permitted 
to feel (for such is the law of human feeling,) against those whose 
virtues are unfavourable to their partial aims. St Lawrence, what- 
ever duties he acknowledged to king Henry, did not consider himself 
exempt from the prior and paramount duty which he owed to the 
King of kings and Lord of lords, whose servant he was. The immuni- 
ties of the Irish church, for which he always held out firmly, and for 
which he had the honour to plead at the council of Lateran, which 
Le attended with other Irish bishops, gave offencs to Henry, whose 
construction of those privileges placed them at variance with his 
prerogative. But the upright Lawrence, incapable of subserviency, 
knew that all temporal duties must be limited by the superior and more 
important duties to God, so far as they are clearly and authentically 
known, and acted as all, whether rightly or erroneously, should act, ac- 



cording to the dictates of conscience ; a law which however latitudina- 
rian it will seem to those who rightly contemplate the vast and multiform 
tendencies of human error, will, after all deductions, keep its ground 
as the most universal and compendious normal, on which all duty 
stands, and all virtue consists. It is indeed the principle which gives 
so much profound importance to the question of Pilate, awful when it 
cannot be answered with the utmost clearness " What is truth ?" 

When he was attending king Henry at Canterbury, he had a most 
providential escape from being assassinated by a lunatic. We can do 
no better than tell the story as we find it in Hammer's Chronicle. 
" He came to the king at Canterbury, where the monks received him 
with solemn procession, and hee gave himself one whole night to 
prayers before St Thomas his shrine, for good success in his affairs 
with the king. A fool espied him in his pontifical weed, wholly de- 
voted to St Thomas Becket, and said, ' I can do no better deed than 
make him equal with St Thomas,' with that he took a club, ranne 
through the throng, and gave him such a blow upon the pate, that the 
blood ran down his ears. The man was so sore wounded, that it was 
thought he would yield up the ghost. The cry was up, the fool ranne 
away, the bishop taking breath, called for water, and in a short time 
was healed." 

After a life of indefatigable zeal and goodness, in 1180, revered by 
his countrymen, respected by their enemies, trusted by the church, and 
though feared yet honoured by the king, this good and truly pious 
prelate resigned his breath and died of a fever at the monastery of Eu, 
in Normandy. When reminded of the propriety of making a will, he 
answered, " God knows I have not this moment so much as a penny 
under the sun." He was interred in the centre of the church of Eu, 
in Normandy. He was canonized by pope Honorius in 1226, when 
his remains were placed in a silver shrine over the altar. 

Among the various notices which remain of the life of Lawrence 
O'Toolej there is a common agreement which cannot be misinterpreted 
as to the main incidents which fix his character as most illustriously 
exempt from the vices and common infirmities which are the main 
colouring of history, and as nobly endowed with knowledge and public 
spirit beyond his countrymen in that unenlightened age. In award- 
ing with the most cordial sincerity the still higher praise of sanctity, 
we must not be so far misunderstood as to be supposed to acquiesce in 
the errors of his darkened age ; these he held honestly in common 
with the best and wisest of his time, when the chair of philoso- 
phy was hung with the cobwebs of the schoolmen, and a despotic 
superstition whose foundations rested in the depths of earth, while 
its towers and battlements concealed amid the clouds of heaven, over- 
shadowed the mind of the world. But if St Lawrence worshipped at 
the shrine of Canterbury, he was what can with the same certainty be 
said of few, in an hour of triple darkness, according to his lights the 
faithful servant of God; he was a pious Christian, a worthy and upright 
citizen, a patriot sans peur, et sans reproche: acting through the whole 
of his long life in the higher and earlier sense of this motto, debased in 
its applications by the degeneracy of modern times. 

Of O'Toole's personal appearance, Mr Dalton's research enables us 


to give some account, which may best be offered in his own language. 
" St Lawrence is represented as having been tall, and graceful in 
stature, of a comely presence, and in his outward habit grave though 

Among the characteristic recollections which often help to give 
their beautiful and softened tone to the colouring of the sterner lines 
of the characters of great men, the heroes of virtue, none diffuse a 
glow so chastely pure as those which indicate the freshness and whole- 
ness with which the uncontaminated heart retains to the last the fond 
and almost sacred impressions of earliest years indications which 
while they affect us with the soft force of tender feeling, contrasted 
with stern and lofty strength, also never fail to convey a profound 
and sensible impression of the deep corruption that mingles in the 
current of social existence. To find peace unembittered, purity unsul- 
lied, spirit unchilled, it is necessary to go back to the scenes where 
remain for ever fixed, the bright, pure, fresh associations of those 
early years before life began to unfold those fatal poison seeds in 
man's nature, which undeveloped 

" Men were children still, 
In all but life's delusive wisdom, wise." 

In the leisure intervals of his busy life the archbishop was wont to 
retire to Glendalough, where among the scenes of his youth, he might 
recal many peaceful and blessed recollections of hours of heaven- 
seeking meditation, and hear the old monastery's familiar bell (if bell 
it had) echoing from St Kevin's hollow cliff, with the same feeling 
which the German poet puts into the lips of a far different character. 

" Oh once in boyhood's time, the love of heaven 
Came down upon me with mysterious kiss, 
Hallowing the stillness of the Sabbath-day ! 
Then did the voices of these bells melodious 
Mingle with hopes and feelings mystical ; 
And prayer was then indeed a burning joy ! 
Feelings resistless, incommunicable, 
Drove me a wand'rer through fields and wood? ; 
Then tears rush'd hot and fast then was the birth 
Of a new life and a new world for me."* 

* Faust, p. 52. 



DIED A. D. 1148. 

MALACHY, called by the Irish, Maelmedoic O'Morgair, was abbot 
of Bangor, and afterwards bishop of Connor. He was appointed by 
Celsus (archbishop of Armagh), on his death-bed, as his successor, 
but did not obtain the see for some years ; for " one Maurice, son of 
Donald, a person of noble birth, for five years held that see in pos- 
session, not as a bishop, but as a tyrant, for the ambition of some 
in power had at that time introduced a diabolical custom, of pretend- 
ing to ecclesiastical sees by hereditary succession, not suffering any 
bishops but the descendants of their own families."* Nor was this kind 
of execrable succession of short continuance : for fifteen generations 
the system was persevered in, and great abuses were its natural con- 
sequence. Malachy did not retain the archbishopric for more than 
about three years, when he resigned it to Gelasy, about 1 1 37, and re- 
tired to Down, where he founded a monastery. He went to Rome 
for the purpose of obtaining two palls from Innocent the second, one 
for Armagh, and the other for Dublin, but was dismissed with the 
answer, " That a matter of so great concern ought to be done with 
solemnity, and by the general approbation of the council of Ireland." 
He afterwards undertook another journey to Rome, but was taken ill 
on the road, and died at the monastery of Clarevall, on the 2d of No- 
vember, 1148, in the 54th year of his age. 



THIS ecclesiastic, with those immediately preceding, may be con- 
sidered as a link between the former period and that with which we are 
at present occupied : as in point of time he may be considered as belong- 
ing to the one while his station implies a change by which he is con- 
nected with the succeeding order. 

Gregory succeeded Samuel O'Haingly in the see of Dublin, and 
was consecrated at Lambeth, October 2d, 1121, by Ralph, archbishop 
of Canterbury, assisted by the bishops of London, Salisbury, Lincoln, 
Norwich, and Bangor. Augustin Magraidan, calls him " a wise man, 
and one well-skilled in languages," and he was highly esteemed both 
by the clergy and people of Dublin. He presided over this see about 
thirty-one years, when he was invested with the pall by John Paparo, 
and Christian O'Conarchy (O'Conor), bishop of Lismore, both legates 
from the pope, at a synod convened at Kells, A. D. 1152. About this 
period many of the bishops of Ireland, and particularly Maurice 
M'Donald, of Armagh, evinced great jealousy against the clergy and 
people of Dublin, for their preference of and adherence to the jurisdic- 
tion of Canterbury, (established for about a century,) in opposition to 
the practice of all the other sees, which were subjected to the control 

* Bernard. 


of their own hierarchy. Limerick and Waterford had adopted 
the same practice, had been placed by the decree of the synod of 
Rathbreasil, under the archbishop of Cashel. Ireland was about 
this time divided into ecclesiastical provinces, and four archbishops 
were appointed to preside over them; while the number of bishoprics 
were reduced, and a certain proportion of them subjected to the con- 
trol of each archbishop. Gelasius was appointed to the diocese of 
Armagh, Gregory to that of Dublin, Donatus to Cashel, and Edanus 
to Tuam. The bishoprics placed under the government of the arch- 
bishop of Dublin were, Glendalough, Ferns, Leighlin, Ossory, and 
Kildare. A number of minor ecclesiastical arrangements were also 
made, and the collection of tithes established by the cardinal. Princes, 
bishops, abbots, and chiefs, were collected at this synod, and besides 
the prelates, there were, according to the Annals of the Four Masters, 
three thousand other ecclesiastics present. Gregory continued to 
govern this see until 1161, when he died on the 8th of October, after 
an incumbency of forty years. 


SUCCEEDED A. D. 1181. DIED A. D. 1212. 

JOHN COMYN, a native of England, who was a particular favourite 
of Henry II. and his chaplain, was recommended by him for the arch- 
bishopric of Dublin, and was accordingly elected to it on the 6th of 
September, 1181. He was afterwards ordained priest at Velletri, and 
on Palm-sunday, March 2 1 st, was consecrated at the same place arch- 
bishop, by pope Lucius III. He there obtained a bull from the pope, 
dated April 13th, 1182, in which there is the following passage : 
" In pursuance also of the authority of the holy canons, we order and 
decree that no archbishop or bishop, shall, without the assent of the 
archbishop of Dublin, (if in a bishopric within his province,) presume 
to celebrate any synod, or to handle any causes or ecclesiastical matters 
of the same diocese, unless enjoined thereto by the Roman pontiff or 
his legate." The copy of this bull may be seen in an ancient registry 
of the archbishop of Dublin, called Crede Mihi. A very sharp con- 
troversy arose afterwards between the archbishops of Armagh and 
Dublin, on the subject of this privilege, which did not terminate for 
centuries. Cambrensis, who knew the archbishop, states, that he was 
at the time of his consecration, created cardinal priest at Velletri ; but 
Ware disputes this, as it is not alluded to, either in the bull of pope 
Lucius, in Comyn's characters, or in Onuphrius, or Ciacorims, who 
have published a catalogue of the cardinals. Comyn came to his see, 
September, 1184, to prepare for the reception of earl John, whom 
Henry II. was sending over as governor of Ireland. John gave him 
in 1185, the reversion of the bishopric of Glendalough, when it should 
become vacant, and also granted him a remarkable charter, which en- 
titled him and his successors to hold courts, and administer justice 
throughout Ireland ; but it does not appear that any of his successors 


exercised either civil or ecclesiastical jurisdiction beyond the dioceses 
of their own archbishopric. Comyn assisted at the coronation of 
Richard I., on the 3d of September, 1 1 89, and was a witness to that 
monarch's letters patent, for surrendering to William, king of Scot- 
land, the castles of Rockbork and Berwick, which he acknowledged 
to have been his hereditary right. He was also present at the council 
which appointed the regency during the king's absence in the Holy 
Land. Roger Hoveden gives an account of the various injuries in- 
flicted on this prelate, by Hamo de Valonis, lord-justice of Ireland, 
which made the archbishop determine to leave the kingdom rather 
than be subjected to a continuance of them. He first, however, ex- 
communicated all those who had done him wrong, and laid an inter- 
dict upon his archbishopric. He then went to earl John to obtain 
redress of his grievances, and to demand restitution of what had been 
forcibly taken from him. Not receiving the prompt and efficient aid 
that he expected, he fled to France, and appealed to pope Innocent 
III., who wrote a remonstrance to John upon the occasion, and also 
complained of the archbishop having been unreasonably detained in 
Normandy. This appeal, although it effected Comyn's present pur- 
poses, and that Hamo was in consequence recalled from the govern- 
ment, caused a long and bitter enmity against the archbishop on the 
part of John, which does not seem to have been removed until 1206, 
when the king again received him into favour, and commanded the 
lord-justice in Ireland both to protect him from all injuries, and also 
to make every possible restitution to him for the losses he had sus- 
tained. Hamo also, who had greatly enriched himself before leaving 
Ireland, seems to have at length become conscious of his own injustice, 
and to expiate his crime, gave to the archbishop and his successors 
(in free alms,) twenty plough-lands in the territory of Ucunil. The 
account of this is given by John Alan, a subsequent archbishop, in 
his registry, which is called the Black Book of the Archbishop of Dublin, 
a copy of which is in Marsh's library. Comyn is described as a man 
of learning, gravity, and eloquence, and a very munificent benefactor 
to the church. He built and endowed as a collegiate church, St 
Patrick's cathedral in Dublin, about the year 1 1 90, and in part re- 
paired and enlarged the choir of Christ's church. He also founded 
and endowed a convent of nuns in Dublin, which took its name a 
Gratia Dei, and was commonly called Grace Dieu. Dempster as- 
serts Comyn to have been a Scotchman, born at Banff, and descended 
from the earls of Buchan, but there does not seem to be any good 
authority for this statement. The constitutions and canons made by 
this prelate, and confirmed under the leaden seal of pope Urban III., 
are yet extant among the archives preserved in Christ's church, Dublin. 
His mortal remains are also deposited there, where there is a marble 
monument erected to his memory on the south side of the choir. His 
death took place in Dublin, on the 25th of October, 1212. 

As the regulations and canons made by this prelate are curious in 
themselves, and many of them still binding, we subjoin them. The 
synod at which they were agreed to was held in the year 1186 in 
Dublin, in the church of the Holy Trinity: 

" The 1st. Prohibits priests from celebrating mass on a wooden table 


according to the usage of Ireland; and enjoins that, in all monasteries 
and baptismal churches, altars should be made of stone ; and if a stone 
of sufficient size to cover the whole surface of the altar cannot be had, 
that in such a case a square entire and polished stone be fixed in the 
middle of the altar, where Christ's body is consecrated, and of a com- 
pass broad enough to contain five crosses, and also to bear the foot of 
the largest chalice. But in chapels, chauntries, or oratories, if they are 
necessarily obliged to use wooden altars, let the mass be celebrated upon 
plates of stone of the before-mentioned size, firmly fixed in the wood. 

" 2d. Provides that the coverings of the holy mysteries may spread 
over the whole upper part of the altar ; and that a cloth may cover 
the front of the same, and reach to the ground. These coverings to 
be always whole and clean. 

" 3d. That in monasteries and rich churches chalices be provided of 
gold and silver; but in poorer churches, where such cannot be afforded, 
that then pewter chalices may serve the purpose, which must be always 
kept whole and clean. 

" 4th. That the host, which represents the Lamb without spot, the 
alpha and omega, be made so white and pure, that the partakers 
thereof may thereby understand the purifying and feeding of their 
souls rather than their bodies. 

" 5th. That the wine in the sacrament be so tempered with water, 
that it be not deprived either of the natural taste and colour. 

" 6th. That all the vestments and coverings belonging to the church, 
be clean, fine, and white. 

" 7th. That a lavatory of stone or wood be set up, and so contrived 
with a hollow, that whatever is poured into it may pass through, and 
lodge in the earth; through which also the last washing of the priests' 
hands after the holy communion may pass. 

" 8th. Provides that an immoveable font be fixed in the middle of 
every baptismal church, or in such other part of it as the paschal pro- 
cession may conveniently pass round. That it be made of stone, or of 
wood lined with lead for cleanness, wide and large above, bored through 
to the bottom, and so contrived that after the ceremony of baptism be 
ended, a secret pipe be so contrived therein as to convey the holy water 
down to mother earth. 

" 9th. That the coverings of the altar, and other vestments dedicated 
to God, when injured by age, be burnt within the inclosure of the 
church, and the ashes of them transmitted through the aforesaid pipe 
of the font to be buried in the bowels of the earth. 

" 10th. Prohibits any vessel used in baptism to be applied ever after 
to any of the common uses of man. 

" 1 1th. Prohibits, under the pain of an anathema, any person to bury 
in a churchyard, unless he can show by an authentic writing, or unde- 
niable evidence, that it was consecrated by a bishop, not only as a 
sanctuary or place of refuge, but also for a place of sepulture ; and 
that no laymen shall presume to bury their dead in such a consecrated 
place without the presence of a priest. 

" 12th. Prohibits the celebration of divine service in chapels built by 
laymen to the detriment of the mother churches. 

" 13th. Since the clergy of Ireland, among other virtues, have been 

i. 2 P Ir 



always remarkably eminent for their chastity, and that it would be 
ignominious, if they should be corrupted through his (the archbishop's) 
negligence, by the foul contagion of strangers, and the example of a 
few incontinent men, he therefore forbids, under the penalty of losing 
both office and benefice, that priest, deacon, or subdeacon, should keep 
any woman in their houses, either under the pretence of necessary ser- 
vice, or any other colour whatsoever ; unless a mother, own sister, or 
such a person whose age should remove any suspicion of unlawful 

" 14th. Contains an interdict against simony, under the before-men- 
tioned penalty of losing both office and benefice. 

" 15th. Appoints that if any clerk should receive an ecclesiastical 
benefice from a lay-hand, unless, after a third monition, he renounce 
that possession which he obtained by intrusion, that he should be ana- 
thematized, and for ever deprived of the said benefice. 

" 16th. Prohibits a bishop from ordaining the inhabitant of any other 
diocese, without commendary letters of his proper bishop, or of the 
archdeacon f nor that any one be promoted to holy orders without a 
certain title to a benefice assigned to him. 

" 17th. Prohibits the conferring on one person two holy orders in 
one day. 

" 18th. Provides that all fornicators shall be compelled to celebrate 
a lawful marriage, and also that no person born in fornication should 
be promoted to holy orders, nor should be esteemed heir to either 
father or mother, unless they be afterwards joined in lawful matri- 

" 19th. Provides that tythes be paid to the mother churches out of 
provisions, hay, the young animals, flax, wool, gardens, orchards, and 
out of all things that grow and renew yearly, under the pain of an 
anathema, after the third monition; and that those who continue ob- 
stinate in refusing to pay, shall be obliged to pay more punctually in 

" 20th. Provides that all archers, and all others who carry arms, not 
for the defence of the people, but for plunder and sordid lucre, shall 
on every Lord's day be excommunicated by bell, book, and candle, and 
at last be refused Christian burial."* 


CONSECRATED A. D. 1213 DIED A. D. 1228. 

HENRY DE LOUNDRES, or the Londoner, archdeacon of Strafford, 
was elected to the archiepiscopal see of Dublin, immediately on the 
death of Comyn. He was consecrated early in the following year, 
and was present in the year 1213 when king John executed his de- 
grading charter, surrendering the crowns of England and Ireland to 
Pandulph the pope's legate. Henry resolutely protested against it, 
and refused to subscribe to it as a witness, or as in any degree sanc^ 

* Harris's Ware. 


tioning the proceeding. It concludes, Taste rege, coram Henrico 
archiepiscopo Dublinensi et aliis, and not his testibus. He seems to 
have stood high in the favour of John, and to have proved himself a 
very faithful servant to him. In the July of this year he was ap- 
pointed lord-justice of Ireland, and continued to fill this office until 
the year 1215, when he was summoned to Rome to assist at a general 
council. He appointed Jeffry de Mariscis to conduct the affairs of the 
kingdom in his absence, under the title of Gustos of Ireland;* and, 
making England his way to Rome, he was present, and of the council, 
together with the archbishop of Canterbury, and other bishops, and 
barons of England, when the king executed the Magna Charta, and 
charter of the forests at Runnemedt ; and his name is mentioned in 
the said charters, as one of the persons by whose advice the king 
granted these liberties to his subjects. Some historians assert that 
Henry built the castle of Dublin at his own cost, but this, at all 
events, is certain, that it was erected by his exertions. He expended 
large sums for John, not only when he was lord-justice of Ireland, but 
when he went to Rome as much to solicit aidf for John against the 
barons as to attend at the general council. While he was lord-justice 
of Ireland he had to supply the kings of Ireland, and others of the 
king's liege subjects, with scarlet cloth for their robes at his own ex- 
pense ; and John's short and troubled reign prevented his ever being 
reimbursed by him. He was personally engaged in many of the 
most important occurrences of this reign, and was selected to conduct 
Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, and the rest of the exiled 
bishops, into the king's presence. Henry III. did not forget the 
archbishop's services to his father; and accordingly we find that in the 
twelfth year of his reign he issued a writ to the lord-justice, reciting 
his obligations to this prelate, and stating that he had granted him the 
custodium to all vacant archbishoprics and bishoprics in Ireland, the 
profits to be received by John St John, bishop of Ferns and treasurer 
of Ireland, and G. de Theurville, archdeacon of Dublin, until the 
debts due by the crown to the archbishop should be paid. The king 
also in the same year issued another writ to Richard de Burgo, lord- 
justice, letting him know that he had assigned one hundred pounds 
out of the farm rent of the city of Limerick, and fifty marks a-year 
out of the farm rent of the city of Dublin, toward the payment of 
debts due by the late king to the archbishop. In the year 1219, the 
archbishop again took the reins of government into his hands, and 
for five years faithfully discharged the trust committed to him, but 
was afterwards accused of trenching on the rights of the crown for 
the benefit of the church; by which he both offended the king, and 
irritated the people committed to his charge. So far back as the year 
1217, he had been appointed legate by pope Honorius III.; and in 
1225 the pope sent a bull to this prelate, authorizing him to excom- 
municate all such as detained the king's castles in Ireland from him. 
The see of Glendalough was first united to the see of Dublin under 
this archbishop, at the distance of about six centuries from the death 
of St Kevin, its first bishop. He augmented the revenues of Grace. 

* Mathew Paris. t Cx. 


Dieu, erected the collegiate church of St Patrick, built by his prede- 
cessors, into a cathedral, and neglected no opportunity of advancing 
the interests of the church. There is a story told, not very creditable 
to him, by which he obtained the nick-name of Scorch-villein. He 
summoned his tenants, according to the statement in the Black Book 
of the Archbishop of Dublin, to give an account by what title they 
held lands, and immediately, on getting the deeds into his hands, he 
flung them all into the fire. He held the archbishopric for fifteen 
years, and died about the beginning of July, 1228, and is said to be 
buried at the north wall of Christ's Church, opposite to Comyn, where 
there had been a wooden monument ; but there is at present nothing 
to mark the spot. 


CONSECRATED, A. D. 1256. DIED, A. D. 1271. 

FULK DE SAUNDFORD, a native of England, an archdeacon of Mid- 
dlesex, and a treasurer of St Paul's, London, was appointed archbishop 
of Dublin, July 20, 1256. In the interval between the death of arch- 
bishop Luke and this appointment, Ralph of Norwich, a canon of St 
Patrick's, had been elected by both chapters to the vacant see, but this 
nomination was set aside by the pope ; and, according to the state- 
ments of Mathew Paris, it would appear, on just grounds. He de- 
scribes him as being " witty and pleasant, and one who loved good 
cheer," and from being chancellor of Ireland, he was necessarily en- 
grossed in secular occupations. Ware states, on an ancient authority, 
that he lost his election by the treachery of his own people, " by whom 
he was betrayed" in the court of Rome. Fulk obtained a license from 
the pope to retain his treasurership and other benefices, and by subse- 
quent bulls gained many additional privileges and preferments, amongst 
which was the deanery of St Michael of Penkeriz, in the diocese of 
Coventry, which had before been granted to Henry de Loundres, and 
which was now annexed to the see of Dublin for ever. In 1261 he 
visited Rome, when he complained of the illegal interferences of the 
king's justiciaries in ecclesiastical matters, and their wresting from 
the clergy their established rights ; sheltering offenders, and restrain- 
ing the due collection of sums appropriated to religious purposes. On 
this representation, pope Urban issued a bull condemnatory of such 
practices, and threatening excommunication if persevered in. During 
the absence of De Saundford, the bishops of Lismore and Waterford 
superintended and transacted the business of the see. After his return 
from Rome he visited England, where he remained for a long period ; 
but was sent by king Henry to Ireland in 1265, along with the bishop 
of Meath, Lords William de Burgo, and Fitz-Maurice Fitz-Gerald, 
in the capacity of commissioners, to quiet the contentions of that 

The archbishop found on his return that the mayor and citizens of 
Dublin had been interfering with the revenues of the church, and had 
resorted to very arbitrary means to limit his power and diminish his 
finances. Finding all threats and admonitions ineffectual, he excom- 



municated the offenders, and put the city under an interdict; sending 
at the same time to desire the bishops of Lismore and Waterford to 
denounce them as excommunicated persons through the province of 
Dublin. In the year following, the contending parties were reconciled 
through the interposition of Sir Robert de Ufford, lord-justice, and 
the privy council, when the citizens made all just concessions. It 
would appear, however, that their rebellious and contumelious spirit 
had been merely curbed, not quelled; for in 1270 prince Edward, to 
whom his father had given the sovereignty of Ireland, received infor- 
mation of an attempt made on the life of De Saundford and his com- 
panions, which, though then unsuccessful, would probably be repeated 
in a more determined manner, and with fatal results. He accordingly 
ordered that every protection should be extended to him, that he should 
be granted whatever aids or powers he might require for the estab- 
lishment of his ecclesiastical authority, and commanded the govern- 
ment steadily to repress all infringement on the rights or liberties of 
the church. 

Archbishop Fulk did not long survive. He was attacked with his last 
illness at Finglass, and died in his own manor, May 6th, 1271, having 
governed the see about fifteen years. His body was taken to St Patrick's 
church, and buried in Mary's chapel, which Ware thinks had been 
founded by himself. The archbishopric remained unfilled for seven 
years, owing to the opposing elections of individuals, combined with 
other less prominent causes. In the month following the archbishop's 
death the king granted a license for the election of William de la Comer, 
chaplain to the pope, who was subsequently promoted to the see of Salis- 
bury, but on the same day the dean and chapter of St Patrick's appointed 
Fromun le Brun, who was then chancellor of Ireland. This led to long 
and virulent controversies, which remained unsettled until 1279> when 
the pope rejected the claims of both, and appointed John de Derling- 
ton to the vacant see. On the death of Fulk, Henry III. granted 
the chief profits of this see to prince Edward, to aid in the expense of 
his expedition to the Holy Land, and issued a writ to John de Saund- 
ford, his escheator of Ireland, to prevent any interference from him in 
this appropriation. He also ordered, if any of the funds had been 
collected, that they should be at once paid back to the attorneys of 
the prince.' In the year 1272, when Edward the first ascended the 
throne, he entrusted the management of the temporalities of this see 
to Thomas Chedworth, and directed the chief-justice of Ireland to 
present to the vacant benefices, as in the right of the crown. In some 
of the records of this period, Robert de Provend is mentioned as 
bishop of Dublin, but he evidently could only have been entitled to 
this denomination by having been an assistant, or deputy, to Fulk 
during his various absences, as he- did not either receive the revenues, 
or exercise the privileges or functions of an archbishop. In 1275, the 
prior of the chapter to the convent of the Holy Trinity asserted that 
he had the right, during the vacancy of the see, to appoint to the 
archdeaconry of Dublin, which the king and his justices steadily re- 
sisted; and this dispute remained unsettled until the elevation of John 
de Derlington took from both parties any further claim to the ap- 


DIED A. D. 1306. 

ON the death of William de Hothum, there was a contest between 
Christ's church and that of St Patrick's, as to the nomination of an 
archbishop of Dublin the former selecting Adam de Balsham their 
prior, and the latter Thomas de Chatsworth, dean of St Patrick's, and 
also chief -justice of the King's Bench, to the vacant see; to which he 
had been on a former occasion elected by the king and clergy, but was 
set aside by the authority of the pope. Neither of these elections, how- 
ever, at this time pleased the king ; and an interval occurring, the pope 
asserted his title to nominate, and appointed Richard de Ferings, who 
had been for a long period archdeacon of Canterbury, and who was con- 
secrated in 1299. This prelate made a large conveyance of church 
lands to Theobald Fitz- Walter, butler of Ireland, with the sanction of 
the chapters of the Holy Trinity and St Patrick's. He also, says Ware, 
" took a great deal of pains to reconcile the differences between the 
two cathedrals, the heads of which composition are in the register of 
Alan (archbishop of Dublin), whereof these are the chief: " That the 
archbishops of Dublin should be consecrated and enthroned in Christ's 
church ; that each church should be called cathedral and metropoli- 
tan ; that Christ's church as being the greater, the mother and elder 
church, should take place in all church rights and concerns ; that 
the cross, mitre, and ring of the archbishop, wherever he should 
die, be deposited in Christ's church ; and that the body of every arch- 
bishop that died for the future be buried in either church, by turns, 
unless he disposed of it otherwise by his will." These articles were 
written and agreed to in 1300 ; and after having thus established peace 
in his diocese, he went to England, and subsequently to the continent, 
where he remained for many years. He at length determined on re- 
turning to Ireland, but was attacked with a sudden illness in the course 
of his journey, of which he died the 18th of October, 1306. 


SUCCEEDED A. D. 1317. DIED A. D. 1349. 

NOTWITHSTANDING the articles of agreement formally entered into 
between the two cathedral churches of Dublin, and confirmed by the 
seal of each chapter, with a penalty annexed to their infringement, 
the usual contests commenced on the death of archbishop Lech, re- 
specting the appointment of a successor : one party declared for 
Walter Thornbury, chanter of St Patrick's and chancellor of Ireland ; 
while the other nominated Alexander de Bicknor, or Bignor, the de- 
scendant of a distinguished English family, and treasurer of Ireland. 
Walter, thinking to secure his election at once, took shipping for 
France, where the pope then resided, but was overtaken by a violent 
storm, and he with the entire of the crew and passengers, amounting 


to 150 persons, perished. Alexander was accordingly elected with- 
out opposition, hut his consecration was delayed in consequence of his 
personal services being required by the king. He was sent by Ed- 
ward II. along with Raymond Subirani, and Andrew Sapiti, to trans- 
act some business of importance, relative to his foreign dominions with 
the cardinals attending on the pope, at Avignon ; to twenty-four of 
whom the king wrote special letters.* He was three years afterwards 
consecrated in this place, July 22d, 1317? by Nicholas de Prato, 
cardinal of Ostium. Edward, who appears to have held him in high 
estimation, appointed him lord-justice of Ireland, in 1318, and he 
arrived there on the 9th of October, in the joint character of arch- 
bishop, and governor of the kingdom, and was received both by the 
clergy and people with great demonstrations of joy. He had been 
previously directed by pope John XXII., to excommunicate Robert 
Bruce and his brother Edward, with all their followers, unless 
restitution was made for their destructive and sacrilegious ravages 
throughout the kingdom. He attended several parliaments in Eng- 
land, was present in the palace of Westminster when the bishop of 
Winchester surrendered the great seal, and was also a party with the 
king in the treaty made with the earl of Lancaster. 

In 1320, he founded or rather renewed the university founded by 
his predecessor John Lech, and procured a confirmation of it from 
Pope John XXII. It had doctors of divinity, a doctor of the canon 
law, and a chancellor, besides inferior officers. There were public 
lectures established, and at a later period a divinity lecture by Ed- 
ward III.; but from want of proper aid for the maintenance of the 
scholars it gradually declined, though Ware says, "there remained 
some footsteps of an academy in the time of Henry VII. " Accord- 
ing to the same writer, Bicknor was sent ambassador to France by 
the English parliament in 1 323, along with Edmund de Woodstock, 
earl of Kent, younger brother of Edward II.; but this embassy proved 
unsuccessful. He was also afterwards joined in a commission with 
the same earl, to reform the government of Acquitaine, but ultimately 
fell under the king's heavy displeasure for consenting to the surrender 
of the town and castle of La Royalle, in that duchy, to the French. 
He was one of the accusers of Hugh de Spencer, which so irri- 
tated the king that he wrote a letter to the pope, entreating that he 
might be banished from his kingdom, and that another might be ap- 
pointed to the see. The application of this weak and vindictive 
monarch was however disregarded at Rome ; and we find him again 
taking his place among the prelates and barons of England in 1326, 
when prince Edward was appointed guardian of the kingdom. The 
king, however, found means to punish the archbishop by seizing on the 
revenues of his see, on the pretence of arrears being due to him from 
the time of Bicknor having been treasurer of Ireland ; this money was 
appropriated to the expenses of his army. The archbishop took a strong 
and creditable part against Ledred, bishop of Ossory, who prosecuted 
several persons accused of heresy. These persons boldly seized 
Ledred, and kept him in confinement until they were enabled to escape 

* Dalton's Archbishops. 


beyond his jurisdiction, and seek the protection of Bicknor. He not 
only saved them from all further persecution, but when Ledred sought, 
to appeal to Rome, he took means to prevent his journey thither ; and 
when he ultimately succeeded in leaving 1 Ireland, Edward's power 
arrested him in France, and he was there detained an exile for nine 
years. During this period, the archbishop exerted his power as 
metropolitan, and seized on the profits and jurisdiction of the diocese 
of Ossory. In 1331, Edward HI. wrote to the pope to counteract 
the impressions likely to be made by the representations of Ledred 
against Bicknor ; but his interference does not appear to have been 
very effectual, for the pope suspended his power over the diocese of 
Ossory immediately after his holding a visitation there, and the in- 
terdict continued in force during the remainder of Bicknor's life. 
Edward granted him a royal license in 1336, for annexing additional 
lands to the see, to the amount of 200 yearly. 

In the following year he had a contest with David O'Hiraghty, 
archbishop of Armagh, who was summoned to attend a parliament in 
Dublin, held by Sir John Charleton, lord-justice of Ireland; when as 
Ware states, O'Hiraghty " made procession in St Mary's near Dublin, 
but was hindered by the archbishop of Dublin and clergy, because he 
would have the cross carried before him, which they would not permit," 
and this contest was carried on with more or less violence during the 
remainder of Bicknor's life. In 1348, the king appears to have taken 
part with Bicknor, as he wrote to cardinal Audomar, urging his being 
exempted from any subjection to Armagh; while in the year following 
he seems to have favoured the pretensions of Richard Fitz-Ralph, who, 
by asserting that he had royal authority, triumphantly entered Dublin 
with the cross borne erect before him. Ware, however, thinks this 
assertion false, and that he had received no permission from Edward 
on the subject; and this opinion seems confirmed by the lord-justice 
and others in authority sending him hastily back to Drogheda, where 
he was accompanied by those who supported his pretensions. Edward 
had always shown him particular favour, and in 1347, had extended 
to him a formal pardon for the charges that were against him, whether 
true or false, respecting the inaccuracy of his accompts when trea- 
surer in the reign of his father. Bicknor's life was now drawing fast 
to a close. He died on the 14th of July, 1249, having governed the 
see of Dublin for nearly thirty-two years. He was remarkable for 
learning, wisdom, sound judgment, and exemplary morals; and in that 
age of civil strife, was entrusted with the management of secular as 
well as spiritual affairs of great importance, and managed them with 
a dexterity and discretion which proved that his sovereign's confidence 
in him was well founded. He built the Bishop's House at Tallagh, 
and considerably improved the lands belonging to the see. He is said 
to have been buried in St Patrick's cathedral, but no monument re- 
mains to mark the spot. 



DIED A. D. 1417. 

ON the death of Northall, archbishop of Dublin, Thomas Cranely 
was appointed as his successor, but he did not arrive in Dublin until 
late in the following year, when he accompanied the lord-lieutenant, 
Thomas Holland, duke of Surrey, at which time he was also appointed 
chancellor of the kingdom. In 1399> (the year of Richard's deposi- 
tion,) he was empowered to treat with the Irish rebels ; and in 1401, 
he was again appointed chancellor. Henry V. nominated him to the 
same office in 1413, and subsequently made him lord-justice of Ireland, 
while he held this situation he addressed a long and spirited epistle 
in verse to Henry, of which Leland the antiquary speaks in terms of 
high admiration. He was so impartial in the administration of justice, 
both in his official, legal, and spiritual character, that he not only ob- 
tained the testimony of Irish writers of his day, but he gave the utmost 
satisfaction to the king and council in England. Cox speaks of him 
as " a man of singular piety and learning," and Marlborough, who en- 
larges more upon his character, calls him " a very bountiful man, and 
full of alms-deeds, a profound clerk and doctor of divinity, an ex- 
traordinary fine preacher, a great builder and improver of places under 
his care : he was fair, sumptuous, of a sanguine complexion, and a 
princely stature." At the time that MacGenis, one of the Irish 
chieftains, obtained a victory over Jenico de Artois, his followers and 
tHe surrounding Irish became so daring and insolent, that the lord- 
justice was forced to go out against them in person, but did not pro- 
ceed farther than Castle-Dermot ; he then committed his army to a 
competent military commander, and remained with his clergy engaged 
in earnest prayers for its success. The result was favourable ; but as 
the English were shortly after defeated in Meath, it was thought expedi- 
ent to commit the government of Ireland to a military commander; and 
accordingly on the 10th of September, Sir John Talbot, lord Furnival, 
arrived as lord-lieutenant. He immediately made a progress round 
the pale in a warlike manner, and though he brought no additional 
forces with him from England, he induced all the surrounding chiefs 
to sue for peace. In 1416, when lord Furnival went to England, he 
appointed the archbishop as his deputy, who pursued the same mild 
and judicious line of conduct repressing disorders, redressing griev- 
ances, and administering justice with an impartiality at that time little 
practised. He visited England in 1417, and died the 25th of May at 
Faringdon, " full of days and honour." His body was conveyed to 
Oxford, and buried there in New College of which he had been warden, 
and had also been for a time chancellor of that university. 


DIED A. D. 1449. 

RICHARD TALBOT, brother to the celebrated Sir John Talbot, lord 
of Furnival, was consecrated archbishop of Dublin in the year 1417. 


He had the year before been elected to the primacy, but having ne- 
glected to hasten his confirmation in due time, John Swain was pro- 
moted in his place. His brother, who for his distinguished and 
faithful services in France, was in the succeeding reign created earl 
of Shrewsbury, Waterford, and Wexford, was now the lord-lieutenant ; 
and when he was summoned to England in 1419? he appointed the 
archbishop as his deputy. In 1423 he was made lord-justice, and 
afterwards chancellor of Ireland, and had various grants of land as- 
signed him for the purpose both of supporting his dignity, and reward- 
ing his services. There were various contests between him and 
Swain on the subject of primatial jurisdiction, and Talbot was summon- 
ed to England on the complaint of the latter to answer the charges 
made against him on this subject. These complaints, however, do not 
appear to have had any prejudicial effect on his interests ; as in 1431 he 
was granted the custody of two-thirds of the manor of Trim, and 
other lands being in the crown, in consequence of the minority of 
Richard, duke of York; he was also still continued as chancellor, and 
in 1436 was" again appointed deputy of the kingdom, to Sir Thomas 
Stanley. On the primacy of Armagh becoming vacant, he was a second 
time elected to that see, but refused the appointment. In 1440 he was 
nominated lord-justice, and held a parliament in Dublin, at which it 
was enacted, 

" 1st. That no purveyor or harbenger should take any thing with- 
out payment ; and if he did the proprietor might resist. 

" 2d. That comrick or protection of tories be treason. 

" 3d. That charging the king's subjects with horse or foot without 
consent, is treason. 

" 4th. That the party who desires a protection, (cum clausa volumus) 
shall make oath in Chancery of the truth of his suggestion. ' 

But to make provision for war, it was enacted that every twenty 
pound worth of land should be charged with the furnishing and main- 
taining an archer on horseback.* 

James, earl of Ormonde, being shortly after sent over as lord-lieu- 
tenant, Talbot resigned his office, and in the subsequent administration 
of lord Wells, was sent to England by the parliament, along with John 
White, abbot of St Mary's, to the king, " to represent the miserable 
estate and condition of Ireland, whereby the public revenue was placed 
so low, that it was less than the necessary charge of keeping the 
kingdome by one thousand four hundred and fifty-six pounds per 
annum." In 1447, he was appointed deputy to his brother the earl 
of Shrewsbury, then lord-lieutenant, who, on his return to England, 
accused the earl of Ormonde of treason before the duke of Bedford, 
constable of England, in the Marshall's Court, but the king abolished 
the accusation. The archbishop wrote a tract this year, entitled, Do 
Abusu regiminis Jacobi Comitis Ormondice, dum Hiberniee esset 
locum tenens. And it seems that Thomas Fitz-Thomas, prior of 
Kilmainham was on the side of the archbishop, for he also accused the 
earl of Ormonde of treason, and the combat was appointed between 

* Cox. 


them at Smithfield in" London, but the king interposed and prevented 
it. There were also champions on the opposite side, among whom 
was Jordan, bishop of Cork, and Cloyne whose epistle to Henry VI. 
upon this subject is still extant. 

The contests for primatial sway between Talbot and the archbishops 
of Armagh were numerous, and were renewed by him and John Mey 
in 1446, and the three following years. In the last of these Talbot 
died, having held the archbishopric for nearly thirty-two years, during 
the entire of which time he was privy councillor to Henry V. and VI., 
and was buried under a marble tomb in St Patrick's church, which was 
ornamented with his figure cut in brass. 

DIED A. D. 1556. 

AMONG the most illustrious churchmen of the period in which we 
are engaged, none claims a higher place than George Browne. As 
the main agent of the Reformation in Ireland, he is justly entitled to 
that notice which belongs of right to the instruments of the Almighty 
in the working out of his plans, even when we are compelled to sepa- 
rate the character and motives of the agent from the tendency of the 
work eifected by his instrumentality. Browne's life demands as little 
allowance of this nature as that of most men; but we make the re- 
mark, because his time and actions have placed his character in the 
arena of a great controversy, and the Roman Catholic historians, when 
writing with the greatest fairness of intention, have been led into the 
error of viewing his conduct through the medium of strong prejudices. 
There is one especial error against which it is indeed necessary to 
guard in all biographical notices which are to be found in the pages 
of controversial history injustice done through the means of state- 
ments in themselves not untrue. Misstatements of fact can easily be 
coped with ; but the tacit insinuation of a fallacious inference demands 
reflection and analysis a labour disagreeable to the reader even when 
competent to the task. A few reflections on this fallacy will be here 
an appropriate preface. 

It has been too much the custom of the popular adversaries of 
the reformation to make an uncandid attempt to throw discredit on 
it by the misrepresentations of individual character a resource not 
more unfair than injudicious, from the facility with which it can be 
retorted with fatal effect in most instances. If it were possible, with- 
out an absurdity too glaring for ordinary discretion, for any hostile 
writer to tell us, your creed is a spurious compound of human inven- 
tions, traceable to no adequate authority, opposed to revealed reli- 
gion, or contrived for evil ends, we must admit the fairness of the 
issue, and can prove the contrary. But when the human infirmities 
of human teachers their fears, their passions, or the errors of their 
lives, and, above all, the weakness of which they have been guilty 
under trying circumstances, are brought forward, and the least worthy 


constructions of which human nature will permit are affixed to all 
their actions, we must feel it a sacred duty to guard every reader, of 
whatever creed, against the fallacy of the appeal to prejudice. We 
protest, once for all, against the insinuation of a test by which no pro- 
fession can be fairly tried, so long as its agents and teachers are sub- 
ject to the laws of humanity. To give the slightest weight to the 
inference, the conduct which is to be condemned must be traced to the 
creed. If flagrant vice can be traced to a flagitious article of faith, 
we have done with the argument ; our answer fails, and not till then. 
Otherwise, objections of more or less cogency must arise from the life of 
every man of every creed that ever has been taught or professed, save 
the one man, who alone was without sin. If, indeed, the articles of our 
creed were to be accredited from human authority, it might be fair 
enough to grope among the roots of error, among the failings of their 
inventors and promoters. But in all things appealing directly to a 
common admitted source, of which none (here concerned) deny the 
authority, v"e disclaim all reliance on the goodness or wisdom of any 
human being, and affirm that God himself governs his Church, and 
guides its changes according to his own purpose by the methods of his 
providence, and without any regard to the characters of the various 
agents he uses, who are moved to act, or whose acts are overruled 
according to circumstances. The case actually to come before us does 
not require extreme instances ; we are not called on to illustrate the 
universal fact of human fallibility, by the vice of one eminent 
monster ; we are not called on to execute that always nice and delicate 
task of exhibiting the course of examples by which the moral Governor 
of the universe often visibly elicits good from evil: we are to exhibit, 
with a faithful hand, that usual compound of human virtue and weak- 
ness, which, when truth is preserved, will ever appear in the proudest 
niches of biographical history, affording ample material for partial 
eulogy, or party misrepresentation. 

We have thus far written to exonerate ourselves from the ungra- 
cious and disagreeable task of noticing remarks among our authorities, 
which have excited our sense of opposition, and against which we felt 
in fairness bound to protest. 

On the shocking and barbarous murder of Allen, George Browne 
was appointed in his room, to the metropolitan see. He had been a 
friar of the order of St Augustin, in London, and provincial of the 
order. He had distinguished himself for some time, by the boldness of 
his preaching, in which he maintained the doctrines of the Reformation, 
which were then rapidly spreading in the English church. Fortunately 
for him, the tyrant, Henry VIII., who had commenced by the vain 
effort to put down the growth of opinions then by no means confined 
to a few in England, was led by many motives to adopt its views ; and 
the doctrines, for which he might a little before have been led to the 
stake, were under providence, the means of opening to him the path to 
promotion and extended usefulness. Having been recommended to 
the fickle tyrant as a preacher of the doctrines he now meant to im- 
pose on his subjects, by the same force that he had previously exerted 
for the opposite doctrines ; George Browne was consecrated by Crarimer, 
and other bishops on the 19th March, 1535: and on the 23d the lord- 


chancellor of Ireland was directed by writ to have the revenues of the 
see restored to the new bishop. 

On his arrival in Ireland, his religious tenets were openly avowed. 
And not long after he had the satisfaction to receive a letter from Crom- 
well, containing the welcome information, that the king had renounced 
the authority of the see of Rome, "in spiritual affairs within his 
dominion of England: that it was his will that his Irish subjects should 
follow his commands as in England: and that he was appointed by the 
king as one of the commissioners for carrying his purpose into effect." 
Browne's answer is preserved by all his biographers, and is as follows : 

" Mr MOST HONORED LORD, Your most humble servant receiving 
your mandate, as one of his highness's commissioners, hath endeavoured 
almost to the danger and hazard of this temporal life, to procure the 
nobility and gentry of this nation to due obedience, in owning of his 
highness their supreme head, as well spiritual as temporal, and do find 
much oppugning therein, especially by my brother Ardmagh, who hath 
been the main oppugner, and so hath withdrawn most of his suffragans 
and clergy within his see and jurisdiction ; he made a speech to them, 
laying a curse on the people whosoever should own his highness's 
supremacy ; saying that this isle, as it is in their Irish chronicles, Insula 
sacra, belongs to none but the bishop of Rome, and that it was the 
bishop of Rome's predecessors gave it to the king's ancestors. There 
be two messengers by the priests of Ardmagh, and by that archbishop 
now lately sent to the bishop of Rome. Your lordship may inform 
his highness, that it is convenient to call a parliament in this nation 
to pass the supremacy by act ; for they do not much matter his high- 
ness's commission which your lordship sent us over. This island hath 
been for a long time held in ignorance by the Romish orders, and as 
for their secular orders they be in a manner as ignorant as the people, 
being not able to say mass, or pronounce the words, they not knowing 
what they themselves say in the Roman tongue; the common people 
in this isle are more zealous in their blindness than the saints and 
martyrs were in the truth at the beginning of the gospel. I send you 
my very good lord these things, that your lordship and his highness 
may consult what is to be done. It is feared O'Neal will be ordered 
by the bishop of Rome to oppose your lordship's order from the king's 
highness, for the natives are much in number within his powers.^ I 
do pray the Lord Christ to defend your lordship from your enemies. 
Dublin, 4 Kalend Septembris, 1535." 

In the following year a parliament was called in Dublin, by lord 
Grey, in which among many important enactments, providing chiefly 
for the inheritance of the crown, in conformity with the similar pro- 
visions in the English statutes passed at the same time on the king's 
marriage with Anne Boleyn it was further passed into a law, 28 
Henry VIII., that the king was supreme head of the church of Ireland : 
appeals to Rome were declared illegal, and the first-fruits vested in 
the king. By a separate act he was also invested with the first-fruits 
of the bishopricks and other ecclesiastical temporalities of every de- 
nomination. The authority of the Roman see was abrogated, and its 


acknowledgment prohibited under the penalties of premunire. The 
oath of supremacy was imposed on every official person, and whoever 
should refuse to take it declared guilty of high treason. An English 
statute which prohibited all applications for faculties and dispensations, 
and the payment of pensions and other dues and impositions to the 
Roman see, was adapted to Ireland, and declared to be law. Another 
enactment suppressed twelve religious houses and vested their lands 
in the crown. 

These important changes, though they were fully accommodated to 
the progress of the public mind in England, which had long been 
ripening for the reformation, cannot be denied to have been abrupt, 
arbitrary, and tyrannical, in Ireland, where no free breathing of 
opinion, no advance in social organization, had given birth to progress, 
and where after a long and fierce contest, favoured by the state of the 
country for the last four previous centuries, the church of Rome had 
at length cast its deep and widely spreading roots. It was therefore 
to be anticipated that a spirited opposition must have been roused by 
these propositions. In the house of Parliament, accordingly, the aboli- 
tion of the pope's supremacy did call forth considerable excitement and 
opposition. On the occasion, Browne delivered a short speech which 
expressed his view of the argument in a few words, which, though far 
from conveying the real force of the argument, as it might now be 
stated, seems to have carried much weight: it affords some notion of 
the theological method of reasoning at the time. 

" My lords and gentry of his majesty's realm of Ireland, behold 
your obedience to your king, is the observing of your God and your 
Saviour Christ, for he, that high priest of our souls paid tribute to 
Cesar (though no Christian), greater honour then is surely due to 
your prince, his highness the king, and a Christian one. Rome and her 
bishops in the fathers' days, acknowledged emperors, kings, and princes, 
to be supreme over their own dominions, nay Christ's own vicars ; and 
it is much to the bishop of Rome's shame, to deny what their precedent 
bishops owned; therefore his highness claims but what he can justify. 
The bishop Elutherius gave to Lucius, the first Christian king of the 
Britains, so that I shall without scrupuling vote king Henry supreme 
over ecclesiastical matters, as well as temporal, and head thereof, even 
of both isles, England and Ireland, and without guilt of conscience or 
sin to God ; and he who will not pass this act, as I do, is no true sub- 
ject to his highness." 

The act was passed, but the effect was not equal to the expectations 
of the peremptory despot who sat on the British throne. Henry 
made no account of the convictions or the conscience of others, but with 
the ferocious and irrespective decision of a selfish and arrogant man, 
presumed that the mind of a nation was to veer with the changes of 
his own. He could only attribute the recusancy of the Irish to the 
slackness of his ministers : and when he soon ascertained that, with 
its natural effect, oppression raised a fiercer zeal among the people in 
behalf of their church ; his rage vented itself in threats on archbishop 
Browne, whose zeal was more sincere, and founded on purer motives 


than his own. He wrote an angry letter, in which the archbishop 
was reproached with the benefits which had been conferred on him 
on the consideration of his known principles, and charged with a blame- 
able slackness : with threats of removing him if his conduct should 
not become more satisfactory. 

The archbishop was naturally alarmed ; he well knew the nature of 
the tyrant, and the dangers with which he was himself environed on 
either side, so that in fact no course was safe. While the course 
which it was his most bounden duty to pursue, was such as to make 
him the mark of general aversion, and demanded the exercise of much 
moderation and caution, he was at the same time surrounded by the 
rivalry and secret hostility of the party from which he should receive 
the surest support, and urged on into the extremest steps, by the 
blindfold tyranny at his back. The archbishop was fully sensible of 
these dangers, and also of the necessity there was of conciliating and 
soothing the royal breast, on the determinations of which both his 
personal security and the difficult concerns committed to his agency 
must entirely depend. He returned a submissive answer to the king, 
and wrote another letter to Cromwell, in which he strongly states the 
oppositions which he experienced, with the general contempt of his 
authority; as an instance of which, he states, that he could not prevail 
so far as to have the bishop of Rome's name cancelled from the church 
books. He strongly and judiciously pressed for the appointment of 
an ecclesiastical jurisdiction, in such authorities as might be competent 
to the exigencies of church regulation and government under the 

It is observed by Mr Dalton, in his useful and able work on the 
archbishops of Dublin, that this letter, which he has cited at length, 
shows how slight was the progress in Ireland of the attempted refor- 
mation. The same intelligent author observes, that this attempt 
appears to have been very much limited to the assertion of the king's 
supremacy in Ireland. In point of fact, Henry's own views went 
nothing farther, and it would be unsafe in the most thorough reformer 
to go a hair's-breadth beyond the theology of the king. Henry, 
while with arbitrary decision he put down the authority of the pope, 
with equal determination maintained all the doctrinal tenets of the 
Roman church. For a moment, in the first ardour of opposition, he 
lent an indulgent ear to those whose views though substantially differ- 
ent from his own, yet were such as to favour his main object. But 
as this appeared to be no longer a matter of dispute, he assumed the 
position of an ecclesiastical despot, and maintained it with a fierce and 
peremptory authority, to which all opposition was alike useless and 
perilous. Cranmer and Cromwell on the one side, and on the other 
the duke of Norfolk and Gardiner, with the other peers and prelates 
who adhered to the pope, felt themselves under the necessity of com- 
promise. And while the reformers were compelled to give a seeming 
acquiescence to the doctrines of the Roman church, their opponents 
were, with equal reluctance, forced to renounce the pope. Each 
party acted with dexterous pliability, for the furtherance of its objects, 
suppressing whatever articles of faith on the one side, or discipline on 
the other, they respectively held in opposition to the royal will: while 


the king with more boldness, and not less vigilance, used the compli- 
ance of both for the confirmation of his own power. Had it not 
indeed been for the irritation caused by the violent resistance of the 
church of Home, the reformers might soon have found Henry a rougher 
antagonist than the Pope; but decidedly, as the king was bent on check- 
ing the progress of Reform, lie could not have been fully aware how 
much his power against the pressure of the Papacy lay in the reforming 
spirit of the bulk of the people. And hence it was, that he was forced 
to afford a doubtful countenance to a party whom he disliked. Such 
is the explanation of the conduct of Browne himself decided, zealous, 
and disinterested, he was necessarily compelled to adopt the expedient 
language of subserviency, and to yield where conscientious conviction 
would have gone further than discretion. The English reformers 
though awed by the king, were supported by the people ; notwith- 
standing which, their zeal was tempered by a due share of caution : 
Browne was on the other hand alike circumscribed, by the zealous 
opposition of the national spirit, and the limitary dictation of Henry. 
Under these circumstances, the conduct of the archbishop was in all 
respects such as the exigencies of the situation demanded, he could 
not be more decided without endangering his object, or less active 
without betraying his trust. The instructions which he sent round 
to the incumbents and curates of his diocese, present the doctrines 
of the church of Rome in the form least inconsistent with the views 
of the reformation; and contain some clauses not quite reconcileable 
with Romanism, as it existed until very recently within our own 
times, when under the pressure of external circumstances it has 
been undergoing a silent and partial reformation. We give the 
"form of beads," from the State Papers. "You shall pray for 
the universal catholic church, both quick and dead, and especially 
for the church of England and Ireland. First for our sovereign 
Lord the king, supreme head on earth, immediate under God, of 
the said church of England and Ireland. And for the declaration 
of the truth thereof, you shall understand, that the unlawful juris- 
diction, power, and authority, of long time usTirped by the bishop of 
Rome in England and Ireland, who then was called pope, is now by 
God's law, justly, lawfully, and upon good grounds, reasons, and causes, 
by authority of parliament, and by and with the whole consent and 
agreement of- all the bishops, prelates, and both the universities of 
Oxford and Cambridge, and also the whole clergy both of England 
and Ireland, extinct and ceased, and ceased for ever, as of no strength, 
value, or effect in the church of England or Ireland. In the which 
church the said whole clergy, bishops, and prelates, with the univer- 
sities of Oxford and Cambridge, have, according to God's law, and 
upon good and lawful reasons and grounds, acknowledged the king's 
highness to be supreme head on earth, immediately under God, of this 
church of England and Ireland, which their knowledge confessed, 
being now by parliament established, and by God's laws justifiable, to 
be justly executed ; so ought every true Christian subject of this land, 
not only to acknowledge and obediently recognise the king's highness 
to be supreme head on earth of the church of England and Ireland, 
but also to speak, publish, and teach their children and servants the 


same, and to show unto them how that the said bishop of Rome hath 
heretofore usurped, not only upon God, but also upon our princes. 
Wherefore, and to the intent that ye should the better believe me, 
herein, and take and receive the truth as ye ought to do, I declare 
this unto you. The same is certified unto me from the might of my 
ordinary, the archbishop of Dublin, under his seal, which I have here 
ready to show you, so that now it appeareth plainly, that the said 
bishop of Rome hath neither authority nor power in this land, nor 
never had by God's laws ; therefore I exhort you all, that you deface 
him in all your primers, and other books, where he is named pope, 
and that you shall have from henceforth no confidence nor trust in 
him, nor in his bulls or letters of pardon, which before time with his 
juggling casts of binding, and loosing, he sold unto you for your 
money, promising you therefore forgiveness of your sins, when of 
truth no man can forgive sins but God only ; and also that ye fear not 
his great thunder claps of excommunication or interdiction, for they 
cannot hurt you ; but let us put all our confidence and trust in our 
Saviour Jesus Christ, which is gentle and loving, and requireth no- 
thing of us when we have offended him, but that we should repent and 
forsake our sins, and believe steadfastly that he is Christ, the Son of 
the living God, and that he died for our sins, and so forth, as it is 
contained in the Credo; and that through him, and by him, and bv 
none other, we shall have remission of our sins, ' a pcena et culpa,' 
according to his promises made to us in many and divers places of 
scripture. On this part ye shall pray also for the prosperous estate 
of our young prince, prince Edward, with all other the king's issue and 
posterity, and for all archbishops and bishops, and espeeially for my 
lord archbishop of Dublin, and for all the clergy, and namely, for all 
them that preacheth the word of God purely and sincerely. On the 
second part ye shall pray for all earls, barons, lords, and in especial 
for the estate of the right honourable lord Leonard Grey, lord-deput^ 
of this land of Ireland, and for all them that be of the king's most 
honourable council, that God may put them in mind to give such 
counsel, that it may be to the pleasure of almighty God and wealth of 
this land. Ye shall pray also for the mayor of this city, and his 
brethren, with all the commonalty of the same, or for the parishioners 
of this parish, and generally for all the temporality. On the third 
part, ye shall pray for the souls that be departed out of this world in 
the faith of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which sleep in rest and peace, 
that they may rise again and reign with Christ in eternal life. For 
those and for grace every man may say a Pater Noster and an Ave."* 
This is not the place to enter in detail upon the subject of a con- 
troversy, still raging, and to rage with a scarcely mitigated force until 
it shall please the Divine Ruler, in the development of his own purposes 
to send peace to his church. But it is plainly apparent, according to 
every view, that the place of the reforming archbishop of Dublin was 
not one to be desired by any one who sought his own tranquillity, or 
desired to shrink back from the turbulence and bitterness of the times, 
then as now keenly edged with the zeal of controversy. Among the 

* State Papers. Dalton. Ware. 
I. 2 Q Ir - 


many trials with which Browne had to contend, the most personally 
vexatious arose from the opposition and the hostility of Leonard lord 
Grey, who, himself the object of a persecution which pursued him to 
the block, did not the less indulge in the gratification which his high and 
arbitrary temper found in heaping insult and injury upon one whom 
he personally disliked, and to whose exertions he was no friend. The 
civil and religious state of the time was such as to demand the control 
of stern, arbitrary, and uncompromising spirits, which alone have 
efficacy amid the tempests of disorganized society. Of this temper 
each of these persons had his due share. But the spirit of the military 
and civil ruler, and that of the ecclesiastic, were so placed in respect 
to each other, as to be too easily brought into collision, and to entertain 
the dislike to which arbitrary and aspiring tempers will ever mutually 
tend. The archbishop sat under too close and stern a control, to 
move in enmity towards his powerful antagonist ; but Grey could 
admit no shadow of a rival jurisdiction in any department of the state, 
he probably felt that if the king was to be the arbitrary ruler of the 
church, the archbishop's active assumption of power would be an 
encroachment; but it is still more likely, that his arbitrary temper was 
provoked at the additional difficulties he apprehended from the exas- 
peration of the public mind, by a controversy, to which he assigned 
no serious importance. Such indeed is the observable spirit of every 
time, the serious controversialist who has motives of conscience to 
direct his zeal, will still be constrained more or less by the spirit 
and temper of the religion he professes : the Christian will reason 
because it is his duty; the partisan will fight on this as he would on 
any other cause ; the sceptic, who is alike indifferent to every creed, 
will treat the controversial combatant, to whom by party he is opposed, 
or whose views are such as to come into collision with his own, with 
irrespective and irreverent scorn because he can comprehend no rea- 
son why the concerns of a, future, in which he has neither hope nor 
faith, should be suffered to disturb the present, in which all his heart 
and understanding are centred. We cannot now pretend with any 
accuracy or justice to analyze the mind of lord Grey, who executed 
his own trust with vigour, and was ill repaid with the punishment of 
a traitor. But we entertain no doubt that his persecution of arch- 
bishop Browne was carried into minute and vexatious aggressions 
which were hard to bear. In the complaints which are to be found 
in Browne's letters to the king, he seems nevertheless to have exercised 
great moderation, as he confines himself to the plea of his own want 
of authority under the interference of Grey, when such a complaint 
is rendered necessary by the reproaches of the king ; but in his other 
correspondence with his personal friends, the true state of the case 
appears more plainly. Such passages as the following extract, 
speak a very overbearing and persecuting spirit, and show more 
clearly the difficult straits in which Browne was placed between the 
king, his lord-deputy, and the country, or rather the Irish church. 
Romanis ipsis romaniores, if this grammatical barbarism may be al- 
lowed. " Good master Allen, it needeth not me to declare unto you 
what wrongs I do sustain by the lord-deputy, and I perceive it need- 
eth not me to expect for any of his better favours ; but rather the eri- 


crease of daily wrongs. It chanced me and the abbot of St Thomas 
court, to have bought against this time of our own tenants, two fat 
oxen being paid for more than two months past ; that notwithstand 
ing, my lord-deputy hath not only taken the said oxen to his owu 
kitchen, but also doth imprison one of the tenants. Thus by high 
power man be here oppressed."* 

But the greatest difficulties with which the zeal of Browne had to 
contend, was unquestionably that which he met in the direct discharge 
of his ecclesiastical functions, as the prelate of a divided and recusant 
church. From other bishops he met with a resistance the more dif- 
ficult to contend with, as their recognised authority was upheld by 
the spirit of the Irish people and hierarchy. The bishop of Meath 
resisted him by open and violent opposition, and countermined him by 
secret intrigue. The clergy of his own immediate diocese used both 
evasion and resistance : his attempts to displace the images and relics 
from the cathedrals of Dublin were stubbornly opposed by his clergy, 
who dispatched a secret emissary to Rome to bear their assurances of 
devotion and implore for aid. Of these trials he complains with much 
evident bitterness in a letter to Cromwell in 1538 : the letter is 
given in the republication of Ware's Annals by his son, who has an 
autograph letter in it from the collection made by his father. It is 
also printed in Mr Dalton's Bishops. 

" Right honourable and my singular good lord. 

" I acknowledge my bounden duty to your lordship's goodwill to- 
wards me, next to my Saviour Christ, for the place I now possess. I 
pray God give me his grace to execute the same to his glory and 
highnesses honour, with your lordship's instructions. 

" The people of this nation be zealous, yet blind and unknowing; 
most of the clergy, as your lordship hath had from me before, being 
ignorant, and not able to speak right words in the mass or liturgy, as 
being not skilled in the Latin grammar, so that a bird may be taught 
to speak with as much sense as many of them do in this country. 
These sorts, though not scholars, yet crafty to cozen the poor common 
people, and to dissuade them from following his highnesses orders. 
George, my brother of Armagh, doth underhand occasion quarely ; 
and is not active to execute his highnesses orders in his diocese. 

" I have observed your lordship's letter of commission, and do find 
several of my pupils leave me for so doing. I will not put others in 
their livings till I know your lordship's pleasure, for it is fit I acquaint 
you first. The Romish relics and images of both my cathedrals of 
Dublin, of the Holy Trinity, and St Patrick's, took off the common 
people from the true worship ; but the prior and the dean find them 
so swat for their gain that they heed not my word; therefore, send 
in your lordship's next to me an order more full, and a chide to them 
and their canons, that they might be removed. Let the order be that 
the chief governors may assist me in it. The prior and dean have 
written to Rome to be encouraged ; and if it be not hindered before 
they have a mandate from the bishop of Rome, the people will be 

'Archbishop Browne to Allen. State Papers 


bold, and then tug long before his highness can submit them to his 
grace's orders. The country folk here much hate your lordship, and 
despitefully call you, in their Irish tongue, the blacksmith's son. 

" The duke of Norfolk is, by Armagh [the bishop] and that clergy, 
desired to assist them not to suffer his highness to alter church rules 
here in Ireland. As a friend I desire your lordship to look to your 
noble person, for Rome hath a great kindness for that duke, (for it is 
so talked here,) and will reward him and his children. Rome hath 
great favour for this nation purposely to oppose his highness, and so 
have got, since the act past, great indulgences for rebellion ; therefore 
my hope is lost, yet my zeal is to do according to your lordship's 
orders. God keep your lordship from your enemies here and in Eng- 
land. Dublin, the 3d kalends of April, 1538. 

" Yr lordship's at commandment, 


" To the Lord Privy Seal his Honourable Lordship" 
[Ex autographo.*] 

Immediately after this letter a bull was sent over which all the his- 
torians of every party have severally thought proper to preserve, and 
which we do not feel authorized to omit. This bull is contained in a 
letter from the archbishop to Cromwell, as follows: 


" My duty premised, it may please your lordship to be advertised, 
sithence my last there has come to Ardmagh and his clergy a private 
commission from the bishop of Rome, prohibiting his gratious high- 
nesses people here in this nation to own his royal supremacy, and 
joyning a curse to all them and theirs, who shall not within forty days 
confess to their confessors (after the publishing of it to them) that 
they shall have done amiss in so doing. The substance, as our secre- 
tary hath translated the same into English, is thus: 

" I, A. B., from this present hour forward in the presence of the holy 
Trinity, of the blessed Virgin Mother of God, of St Peter, of the holy 
apostles, archangels, angels, saints, and of all the holy host of heaven, 
shall and will be always obedient to the holy see of St Peter of Rome, 
and to my holy lord the pope of Rome and his successors, in all things 
as well spiritual as temporal, not consenting in the least that his holi- 
ness shall lose the least title or dignity belonging to the papacy of 
our mother church of Rome, or to the regality of St Peter. 

" I do vow and swear to maintain, help and assist the just laws 
liberties and rights of the mother church of Rome. 

" I do likewise promise to confer, defend and promote, if not person- 
ally, yet willingly as in ability able, either by advice, skill, estate, 
money or otherwise, the Church of Rome and her laws against all 
whatsoever resisting the same. 

" I further vow to oppugn all hereticks, either in making or setting 
forth edicts or commands contrary to the mother Church of Rome, 
and in case any such be moved or composed, to resist it to the utter- 

* Ware's Annuls. 


most of my power, with the first convenience and opportunity I can 

" I count and value all acts made or to be made by heretical powers 
of no force or worth, or to be practised or obeyed by myself, or by 
any other son of the mother Church of Rome. 

" I do further declare him or her, father or mother, brother or 
sister, son or daughter, husband or wife, uncle or aunt, nephew or 
niece, kinsman or kinswoman, master or mistress, and all others, 
nearest or dearest relations, friend or acquaintance whatsoever, accursed, 
that either do or shall hold for the time to come, any ecclesiastical or 
civil authority of the mother church, or that do or shall obey for the 
time to come, any of her the mother church's opposers or enemies, or 
contrary to the same of which I have here sworn unto : so God, the 
blessed Virgin, St Peter, St Paul, and the holy evangelists help, &c. 

" His highness's viceroy of the nation is of little or no power with 
the old natives, therefore your lordship will expect of me no more 
than I am able ; this nation is poor in wealth, and not sufficient now 
at present to oppose them : it is observed, that ever since his high- 
ness's ancestors had this nation in possession, the old natives have 
been craving foreign powers to assist and rule them; and now both 
English race and Irish begin to oppose your lordship's orders, and do 
lay aside their national old quarrels, which I fear if any thing will 
cause a foreigner to invade this nation, that will. I pray God I may 
be a false prophet, yet your good lordship must pardon mine opinion, 
for I write it to your lordship as a warning. 

Your humble and true servant, 


"Dublin, May, 1538. 

" To the Lord Privy-Seal with speed.'' 

We have already mentioned the letter to O'Neale* from the pope, 
which was found on the person of a friar who was seized by the arch- 
bishop at the same period with the last-mentioned bull and letter ; in 
the beginning of June, Thady O'Birnie was seized and imprisoned, till 
orders could be received from England ; but on hearing that an order 
had arrived for his transmission into England, this order the unfor- 
tunate friar justly looked on as the preliminary to a rough trial and a 
certain death, to avoid the horrors of which, he anticipated the exe- 
cutioner, and was found dead in his prison. 

The struggles between the archbishop and his powerful and nume- 
rous opponents were at this time attended with much active and 
rancorous hostility, which, as either party gained the advantage, 
showed the extent to which the worst elements of human nature could 
take the lead in the zeal of sects and parties for a religion broadly 
opposed to the passions which were thus enlisted in its cause. Human 
beings, animated by the purest motives of which humanity is capable, 
and engaged in the holiest cause, will still act from the spirit which 
rules the breast of short-sighted and inferior creatures, and " call 
down fire from heaven" on those whom God in his long-suffering 
allows to brave him with impunity; nor in the energy of opposition 

* Con Boccagh, first earl of Tyrone. See ante, p. 375. 


and defence once revert to the precept and the testimony which tells 
how different indeed is the fight of faith to which our Lord sent forth 
his chosen, or the test of that divine light which shows the creature 
of sin what spirit he is of: but the strife was actually embittered by 
the infusion of mere political and party rancour ; and two great and 
powerful parties were opposed to each other, fighting under the name 
of religion, and drawing excitement from the zeal of party prejudices. 

We have already at some length shown how the part of Browne 
was rendered difficult not alone by the formidable tyranny at his back, 
with both the remissness and impetuosity of which he was reduced to 
contend, nor even by the vast weight of national prejudice and zeal which 
opposed him ; his most truly vexatious trials arose from those to whom 
he might have mainly looked for support. The lord Grey, while he 
was ostensibly the instrument of the king's designs, was in effect their 
determined enemy, and omitted no occasion by which he might with- 
out suspicion impede the progress of the reformation, or embarrass the 
proceedings of Browne. There is a paragraph in a letter from lord 
Butler to Cromwell, which contains a curious account of a scene 
which in some degree illustrates this. 

" This last week the vicar of Chester, sitting at the lord-deputies 
board, the archbishop of Dublin, the chief-justice, the master of the 
rolls, with others of the king's counsel, and I, there present, said openly 
before us all, that the king's majesty had commanded that images 
should be set up again, and honoured and worshipped as much as ever 
they were; and we held us all in silence in my lord-deputy's presence 
to see what he would say thereto. He held his peace and said nothing. 
Then my lord of Dublin, the master of the rolls, and I, said among 
other things, that if he were in any other place, out of my lord-deputy's 
presence, we would put him fast by the heels, and that he had deserved 
grievous punishment. His lordship kept his tongue and said nothing 
the while. Sure he hath a special zeal to the papists." This letter is 
dated 26th August, 1538. 

Nevertheless, in the end of the same year, by a letter bearing date 
6th November, the archbishop seems to have met with many circum- 
stances of better hope. In a letter to Cromwell, he says, " that the 
papishe obstinate observants be here among themselves in such despe- 
ration, that where there hath been twenty in a monastery, there be 
now scarcely four; yea, and by your presence they think that little 
number too many; for their feigned holiness is so well (among the 
king's subjects) espied, that the people's devotion is clean withdrawn 
from them."* In the same letter he complains emphatically of the con- 
tinual counteraction he met with from the interference of lord Grey. 
In the following month, a letter from the Irish council to Cromwell, 
mentions the following circumstances: A little before Christmas, 
the writers Allen, Brabazon, and Aylmer, made a sort of progress 
through the " four shires" about the Barrow, for the purpose of pub- 
lishing and giving effect to the king's commands and ordinances both 
civil and ecclesiastical ; as also to hold sessions and levy first-fruits 
and other revenues. They resorted first to Carlow, " where the lord 

* State Pacers. 


James Butler kept, liis Christmas, and these being very well enter- 
tained, from thence we went to Kilkenny, where we were no less 
entertained by the earl of Ormonde. There on new-year's day, the 
archbishop of Dublin preached the word of God, having very good 
audience, publishing the king's said injunctions, and the king's transla- 
tion of the Paternoster, Ave Maria, the articles of faith, and ten com- 
mandments in English; divers papers whereof we delivered to the 
bishop and other prelates of the diocese, commanding them to do the 
like, through all their jurisdictions."* 

Though the lord-deputy Grey had set himself in opposition to the 
archbishop, and frequently disconcerted his efforts to introduce the 
changes enjoined by the king, yet his efficient activity in the suppres- 
sion of rebellion had more favourable consequences than his personal 
opposition could defeat. Numbers, whose religious animosity was little 
else than faction, were when the political motive was suppressed, 
ready to adopt any change for peace and favour; and much ecclesi- 
astical zeal was subdued into acquiescence, by a sense of the idleness 
of holding out. The religion enforced by Henry was, it is to be re- 
membered, far more that of Rome than England : on the Reformation 
in England, the tyrant looked with an eye of watchful jealousy, and 
whatever he had yielded to its doctrines, was rather unwilling poli- 
tical concession than sincere. The conquest over such opposition in 
Ireland, so far from being matter of surprise, must indeed on the con- 
trary appear far below what should, under all the circumstances, be 
expected; and were it not that the Irish looked rather to the party 
than the creed, a far greater effect might have been reasonably anti- 
cipated. The defeats at this time sustained by the Irish chiefs con- 
tributed much to facilitate the objects of Browne; and the same favour- 
able effect was forwarded by the successful vigour of De Brereton, 
who was deputed in the room of Grey on his return into England. 
Many of the monasteries were in consequence resigned to the king. 
The priory of the Trinity in Dublin is more especially noticed, which 
was changed, in 1 54 1 , into a deanery under the new appellation of Christ 
Church. It now consisted of a dean and chapter, with a chanter, 
treasurer, six vicars choral, and two singing boys. It was after ex- 
tended by King James. 

Soon after, Sir Anthony St Leger was sent over, and a parliament 
called in Dublin, in which the king's style was changed from lord of 
Ireland to that of king, an act to which much good is attributed. 
Among other immediate consequences seems to be numbered the un- 
qualified submission of Con O'Nial, with the fullest renunciation of 
the papal authority, an example which was followed by the other 
chiefs of Ulster. 

Such is nevertheless but the fair aspect of the history of the day. 
The concessions and submissions of the Irish were partly insincere, 
partly from ignorance; they were also but partial. The vindictive 
ferocity of Henry impelled numbers whom the thunders of the Roman 
see drove back; and while the chiefs were tossed back and forward 
by the contending sway of parties, no pains were taken to instruct the 

State Papeis. 


populace. For this indifference to the spiritual intent of religion, 
Browne and his bishops have been justly censured, nor can it be ad- 
mitted as an excuse that their opponents were no less to blame. It 
was indeed a time, when the inferior orders were little more thought 
of than beasts for the ends of husbandry or war. " Hard it is," writes 
chancellor Cusack, " that men should know their duties to God and to 
the king, when they shall not hear teaching or preaching throughout the 
year."* The evil here complained of was indeed wide spread and fatal ; 
and the obstacles to any remedy, perhaps, insurmountable, unless by the 
slow operation of time. The knowledge of the English language, a need- 
ful preliminary, can hardly be described as co-extensive with the pale ; 
and through every other district the people were altogether depen- 
dent on such instruction as they were likely to obtain in their native 

In 1542, the archbishop caused an application to be made by the 
council in his behalf, that he might be compensated for lands released 
by him to the king in favour of one of the O'Tooles ; and was let off 
a debt of 250 pounds by the king-. This debt had been originally 
incurred by a promise of so much to lord Rochford, arid on the at- 
tainder of this lord, it fell to the king.f 

In 1542, an inquisition wa<5 taken of the temporality of the see of 
Dublin,J and in the next a suit between the archbishop and lord 
Howth, for the inheritance of Ireland's Eye, was adjudged in favour of 
the archbishop. In the same historian we find many interesting particu- 
lars of the internal regulations and changes made about the same time 
by this prelate one of which alone we shall now delay to mention : 
" By deed of the 12th July, 1545, this prelate, in consideration of 40, 
conveyed to trustees the town of Rathlande, being on the southern part 
of Thomas-Court Wood, then lately occupied by Thomas Battee ; also, 
all the lands, &c., in Rathlande aforesaid, and the rents and reversion 
of the same, to hold for ever, to the use of William Brabazon, ances- 
tor of the earl of Meath, his heirs and assigns, at the yearly rent of 
1 3s. 4d., being the site of that wretched district of paupers, now deno- 
minated the earl of Heath's liberties."|| 

It was in the following year that a commission was issued for the 
sequestration of St Patrick's, with its lands and revenues to the king's 
use. For a time the chapter refused to yield, but after some days' 
deliberation, the required resignation was made by the dean. They 
were afterwards restored in 1554, by queen Mary. Before that 
restoration, however, the canons had been pensioned liberally by Ed- 
ward VI., their plate, jewels, and other moveables restored, and an 
addition of priests and singing boys is also attributed to the same 
occasion by Ware ; which nevertheless, is placed by Mr Dalton at an 
earlier period. 

The death of Henry and the accession of Edward VI. introduced 
momentous changes into the English church. The first steps of 
the reformation were, on the part of Henry, reluctant concessions to 

* Li-land, from MS. Trin. Col. Dub. 
t State Papers, vol, ii. pp. 11, 390, 394. J Daltou. Ibid. 

II Ibi.l. 


those who acting with more sincerity, and from far other motives, 
were yet necessary to his purposes : these purposes were nothing more 
or less than the emancipation of his own actions from control, the 
gratification of revenge, and the assertion of an arbitrary temper. To 
the reforming party it was necessary to concede, and opposition alone 
impelled him to a certain length ; but his was not a nature to be car- 
ried far with the changes of others, and he sternly turned round when 
his point Avas secured. Such institutions or doctrines of the Roman see, 
as when admitted must needs have rendered his usurpation impossible, 
and which formed the basis of its power, he willingly, and with a high 
and arbitrary hand, suppressed with all that disregard of opinion and 
conscience, which were characteristic of one who was himself little, 
if at all, swayed by either : and as he arbitrarily dragged his subjects 
to the point required by his purpose, so, with the same arbitrary will, 
he forbade them to go further. His creed, which was in some of its 
points repugnant to the faith of the Roman, and in more, irreconcile- 
able with that of the reformer, he enforced against both with irre- 
spective tyranny. He was content to establish a supremacy more abso- 
lute than the pope ever claimed over the faith; and when the point 
was (according to his opinion) gained, it was his wish to repress inno- 
vation, and the daring spirit of search and speculation, under which 
no tyranny could long subsist, and to reign in a new obscurity and 
torpor of his own creation. Accordingly, as Burnet has observed, 
having once reached a certain point, he began to turn back, and had 
his life been spared, there can be little doubt that he would have car- 
ried back the church to the same creed from which he had endea- 
voured violently to remove it. Among his own bishops there were 
lew who were not fully aware of this fact: nor were there wanting 
many to avail themselves of it. Hence a protracted and violent strug- 
gle set in between two powerful and influential sections of the church, 
who each continued to temporize and triumph in its turn, with the 
changes of this royal autocracy. Some time previous to the period at 
which we are now arrived, the natural effect of this disposition of 
the king had begun to take place; the influence of Cranmer, whose 
agency had been found useful in one part of the monarch's course, 
began to give way to that of Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, whose 
opinions and instrumentality became no less important in another 
stage. Cranmer's views essentially differed from those of his master 
who had the penetration to see that they were quite inconsistent with 
the infallible and all-controlling supremacy he claimed : Gardiner had 
no objection to acknowledge the pope in the king, and the king had 
no opinions incompatible with Gardiner's theology. 

In this state of things a royal proclamation prohibited the importa- 
tion and printing of books, unless under the most strict and jealous 
supervision a provision more distinctly explained by the accompany- 
ing prohibitions : All parts of scripture not first inspected and ap- 
proved of by the king all works denying the doctrine of transubstan- 
tiation. By the same instrument, all persons were forbidden to deny 
this doctrine under pain of death and confiscation. Married priests 
were denounced, those already married to be deprived, and those who 
should thereafter marry, were to be imprisoned. 


This retrograde movement was completed by an act of parliament 
for the prevention of diversity of opinion in religion ; well known as 
the statute of the six articles, the purpose of which was to be a for- 
midable bulwark against the further approach of the reformation. 
This act fixed the creed of king Henry at a standard which he main- 
tained to the end of his life, with the sword and faggot. By this law, 
of which the title was " An act for the abolishing diversity of opinions 
in certain articles concerning the Christian religion," hanging or 
burning at the stake was enacted to be the punishment of whoever 

I. By word or writing deny tran substantiation. 

II. Who should maintain that communion in both kinds was 

III. Or that it was lawful for priests to marry, 

IV. Or that vows of charity may be broken. 

V. Or that private masses are unprofitable. 

VI. Or lastly, that auricular confession is not necessary to salva- 

Such was the Protestantism of Henry VIII. The composition of 
Gardiner and the act of the same subservient parliament, which granted 
to the king the lands of the religious houses, thus exhibiting a perfect 
indifference to all creeds and churches, and shaping their conscience 
to the fashion of a despotic court. Against this law of the six articles 
Cranmer stood alone. And the opposition he made, would, as Rapiu 
justly observes, " have ruined any other person but that prelate." The 
bishops of Salisbury, Shaxton, and Latimer bishop of Worcester, who 
could neither conform their consciences to the king's rule of faith, 
thought to escape by the resignation of their bishopricks. But they 
no sooner gave in their resignations, than they were committed to the 
Tower, as having spoken against the six articles ; and an inquisitorial 
commission was appointed to make strict inquiry through the country 
for those who had spoken against them. This proceeding was, how- 
ever, interrupted, by the numerous arrests in the city of London in 
consequence of which the chancellor represented to the king the detri- 
mental and dangerous consequences likely to arise from the vast num- 
bers who were likely to be thus involved through the kingdom. 

Henry maintained thus a doubtful church which in many points 
gave offence to all, by a dexterous accommodation of the powers he 
had acquired, to circumstances as they occurred ; and while he still 
maintained a discretionary power over articles of faith, he sometimes 
gave a slackened rein to the reformers, and sometimes drew them up, 
so as to balance the two parties and preserve his power over both. 
But it was thoroughly understood that he was the steady enemy of the 
reformers on one side, and to the pope on the other ; while he went 
heart and hand with Gardiner's party, who agreed with his theology 
and connived at all with which they disagreed. 

This state of things was in England partly mitigated and concealed 
by the king's anxious fears of the German Protestants: and by his 
manoeuvres to gain them. This topic would lead us far from our 

* Rapin 


object : but it is not foreign from our purpose to notice that Henry 
failed to impose on the German Protestants, who answered his mes- 
sages, that they had seen with grief that he persecuted those of their 
opinions in England. 

Such, then, was the Protestantism of the monster, whom it is not to 
be wondered if every church is willing to disclaim. Such is the 
blind zeal of faction, while tho reflecting and independent student 
of history will reject with decision the absurdity of estimating the 
truth of God by the folly and wickedness, or wisdom and virtue of 
men fallible, whatever be their creed. In the furtherance of his 
private objects, in the indulgence of an opinionative and arbitrary spirit, 
Henry VIII. unquestionably gave to the reformation, long rooted in 
the public mind, a form and substance in the church. But it was still 
in the most essential articles, resting on the sands of human corruption. 
The accession of Edward VL, gave a new and effectual impulse to 
reformation ; and though soon interrupted by his death, may be said 
to have fixed the form of the English church, and given it a substance 
in the minds of men by the publication of the English liturgy in 1548. 
There had previously been some ineffectual changes introduced by 
Henry; but still there was in point of fact no liturgy, either adequate 
to represent the reformation, or to supply the uses of a liturgy con- 
sidered as a form of prayer. There were different liturgies used 
through the kingdom : of these many parts had been handed down 
from remote and primitive antiquity, while others had been supplied 
according to the growth of the tenets of the church of Rome. But 
on the accession of Edward, a newly arranged and improved form was 
sent forth in an English dress retaining all thatwas according to scrip- 
ture, adding much that was wanting, and rejecting erroneous forms 
which corrupted all the Latin liturgies. The new liturgy prepared 
by Cranmer, was then established by parliamentary enactment ; and 
in 1551, sent over to Sir Anthony St Leger, to promulgate and esta- 
blish in Ireland. 

The following is the order transmitted from king Edward to tho 

" Edward, by the grace of God, 

" Whereas our gracious father, king Henry the VIII. of happy mem- 
ory, taking into consideration the bondage and heavy yoke that his 
true and faithful subjects sustained under jurisdiction of the bishop of 
Rome, as also the ignorance the commonality were in, how several 
fabulous stories and lying wonders misled our subjects in both our 
realms of England and Ireland, grasping thereby the means thereof 
into their hands, although dispensing with the sins of our nations by 
their indulgences and pardons for gain, purposely to cherish all evil 
vices, as robberies, rebellions, thefts, whoredoms, blasphemy, idolatry, 
&c He, our gracious father, king Henry of happy memory, hereupon 
dissolved all priories, monastries, abbies, and other pretended religious 
houses, as being nurseries for vice and luxury, more than for sacred 
learning. He therefore, that it more plainly appear to the world that 
those orders had kept the light of the gospel from his people, he 
thought it most convenient for the preservation of their souls aud 


bodies, that the holy Scriptures should be translated, printed, and 
placed in all parish churches within his dominions, for his subjects to 
increase their knowledge of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. We, 
therefore, for the general benefit of our well-beloved subjects' under- 
standings, whenever assembled or met together in the said several 
parish churches, either to hear or to read prayers, that they join there- 
in, in unitv, hearts and voice, have caused the liturgy and prayers of 
the church to be translated into our mother tongue of this realm Eng- 
land, according to the assembly of divines lately met within the same 
for that purpose. We, therefore, will and command, as also authorise 
you Sir Antony St Leger, knight, our vice-roy of that our kingdom of 
Ireland, to give special notice to all our clergy, as well archbishops, 
bishops, deans, archdeacons, as other our secular parish priests within 
that our said kingdom of Ireland, to perfect, execute, and obey this 
our royal will and pleasure accordingly. 

" Given at our manor of Greenwich, the 6th February, in the 
fifth year of our reign. 

" To our trusty and well-beloved Sir Antony St Leger, 
knight, our chief governor of our kingdom of Ireland." 

On receiving this order, St Leger convened a council of the arch- 
bishops, bishops, and clergy, to whom he communicated it with the 
opinions of their English brethren in its favour. When he concluded, 
Dowdal, the archbishop of Armagh, stood up and made a speech in 
which he principally objected, that if the liturgy were to be thus 
adopted in the English language, the consequence must be that every 
illiterate person would have it in his power to say mass. Dowdal's 
objection was adopted by most of the Irish bishops, who (we infer 
from Ware's statement,) many of them followed in the expression of 
the same objection. St Leger replied, that, the very circumstance 
that many of the clergy were already too illiterate to understand the 
Latin tongue, rendered it advisable that they should have an English 
liturgy, by the adoption of which the priest and people " will under- 
stand what they pray for." To this Dowdal, who seems by his whole 
course of objection, to have been singularly inexpert, warned Sir 
Anthony " to beware of the clergy's curse." " I fear no strange curse," 
replied Sir Anthony, " so long as I have the blessing of that church 
which I believe to be the true one." " Can there be a truer church," 
replied Dowdal, "than the church of Saint Peter, the mother church 
of Rome." " I thought," retorted Sir Anthony, " that we had been all 
of the church of Christ, for he calls all true believers in him his 
church, and himself the head thereof." To this Dowdal replied, 
" and is not St Peter's the church of Christ," and was met by the 
conclusive replication, "that St Peter was a member of Christ's 
church, but the church was not St Peter's, neither was St Peter, but 
Christ the head thereof."* On this Dowdal rose and left the assembly, 
and with him all the other bishops but Staples of Meath. The order 
was then handed to Browne, who in a brief speech of which the sub- 
stance was nothing more than a state form, proposed it to the accept- 

* War.-. 


nnce of the assembly, who accordingly received it. Some of the more 
moderate of the other bishops, joined the archbishop of Dublin im- 
mediately after, among whom were Staples of Meath, Lancaster of 
Kildare, and Bale of Ossory ; all of whom were shortly after expelled 
from their sees by queen Mary. The opposition of Dowdal does not 
appear to have drawn upon him any severity. The title of primate was 
necessarily transferred from him to Browne; but his opposition was, as 
might well be anticipated from the zeal and firmness of his character, 
continued until it was found necessary to banish him. This should, 
however, be stated with much caution, as a matter in some dispute, 
and it seems not to be clearly settled whether he was banished, or 
went away of his own accord. Either might well be expected to hap- 
pen, and the point is of slight importance. Hugh Goodacre was cer- 
tainly appointed in his place in the year following. 

To what extent the change now described might have been carried 
in Ireland, were fruitless to discuss. It was quickly arrested in the 
outset, and the course of after events was such as to leave little room 
for amelioration of any kind for another half century, in a country of 
which the mind was kept low by a continual succession of demoraliz- 
ing wars and insurrections. 

The early death of Edward placed the weak and bigoted Mary on 
the throne; and the hopes of England, with the dawn of a better day in 
Ireland, were at once overcast with the horrors of a cruel and bloody 

Mary, not long after her accession, restored the primacy to Armagh, 
in the person of Dowdal, who deprived Browne on the ground of his 
being a married man. The temporalities of his see were, according to 
ancient custom, deposited in the custody of the dean of Christ Church, 
and the see continued vacant for two years, after which it was filled by 
Hugh Curwen. Browne did not long survive ; his death is referred to 
the year 1556. He is thus mentioned by primate Usher, whose testi- 
mony should not be omitted in this memoir: " George Browne was a 
man of cheerful countenance ; in his acts and conduct, plain and 
direct, to the charitable and compassionate ; pitying the state and 
condition of the souls of the people, and advising them when he was 
provincial of the Augustine order in England, to make their applica- 
tion solely to Christ; which advice coming to the ears of Henry VIII., 
he became a favourite and was made archbishop of Dublin. Within 
five years after he enjoyed that see, he caused all superstitious relics 
and images to be removed out of the two cathedrals in Dublin, and 
out of all the churches in his diocese ; and caused the ten command- 
ments, the Lord's prayer, and the creed to be placed in gilded frames, 
above the altars. He was the first that turned from the Romish religion 
of the clergy here in Ireland, to embrace the reformation of the church 
in England.' 1 ' 



DJ12D A. D. 1568. 

CURWIN, a native of Westmoreland, a doctor of laws in Oxford, and 
dean of Hereford, was appointed by queen Mary to succeed Browne 
in 1555. He was at the same time appointed chancellor in Ireland. 
At the close of the year he held a synod, in which some arrangements 
relative to the rites and ceremonies of the church were constituted. 
In connexion with this Cox states, that " afterward, the church goods 
and ornaments were restored, and particularly those belonging to 
Dublin and Drogheda." " And although," says the same writer, 
" many glebes contained lay fees during all the reign of queen Mary ; 
yet at the request of Cardinal Pole, her majesty restored the possessions 
of Kilmainham." 

In 1553, we are informed by Mr Daltori, that a commission was 
appointed to make an account of the value and condition of church 
possessions in the diocese of Dublin, and that similar commissions 
were issued for the other dioceses. All statutes from the twentieth 
year of Henry, which had been against the church of Rome, were at 
the same time repealed, saving the authority of the British throne and 
laws. Former enactments against the reformers, who were included 
under the denomination of heretic, were revived ; and other legal pro- 
visions were made for the restoration of the ancient state of things as 
regarded the affairs of religion. 

The accession of queen Elizabeth, which happily interrupted the 
changes in their course, did not alter the condition of Curwin ; who, 
with a latitude of conscience not to be commended, at once accom- 
modated his principles to the demand of the varying hour ; and in 
1557? was appointed one of the lords-justices with Sir Henry Sidney, 
and continued in the office of chancellor. In 1559, the office of lord- 
keeper of the great seal of Ireland was added to his honours. He was 
a second time chancellor in 1563 ; and in 1567, feeling the rapid en- 
croachments of old age on his personal strength, he sought and ob- 
tained his translation to the see of Oxford, where he died in the fol- 
lowing year. 


DIED A. D. 1605. 

THIS prelate has a more than ordinary claim upon our notice as the 
zealous promoter, and the first provost of Trinity college near Dublin, 
an institution which has conferred more real and lasting benefit on 
Ireland, than all others taken together ; and which when justly esti- 
mated by its intrinsic merits as a repository of knowledge, and a 
centre for the diffusion of sound learning and principle, will, in the 
history of learning, be hereafter considered to stand at the head of the 
universities of Europe being second to none in the cultivation of 


every branch of profane literature, and first of all in its proper and 
peculiar function as the great seminary of the principles of the church of 
England. Such being the chief claim of Loftus on the commemora- 
tion of history, it will be needless to dwell more than lightly on those 
parts of his life which are nothing more than the ordinary incidents 
of his time; and proceed with a rapid hand to this main transaction 
which sheds particular honour on every name with which it is con- 

Loftus was, according to Ware, born at Swineshead in Yorkshire, 
of an ancient and respectable family, and received in his youth a more 
careful and costly education than was usual in his time. He became 
soon distinguished for talent and literary accomplishment ; and on 
some public occasion had the good fortune to win the admiration of 
the queen, by his striking display of logical and rhetorical talent, when, 
with her characteristic promptitude, she marked him for distinction, 
and encouraged his youthful ambition to effort by promises of speedy 

The queen kept her promise, and never lost sight of the distinguished 
youth until an opportunity occurred, when she was sending lord Sussex 
over as lieutenant of Ireland, on which Loftus was sent over as his 
chaplain ; and but little time elapsed when another mark of favour in- 
dicates the favourable impression, which his early promise made on one 
so keen in her discernment of merit. In 1561, he was appointed by 
letters patent to the rectory of Painestown in Meath, and the follow- 
ing year, by one wide step elevated to the see of Armagh in the room 
of Dowdal. On this incident, Harris remarks, that " the Irish 
protestant bishops derive their succession through him, without any 
pretence to cavil, for he was consecrated by Curwin, who had been 
consecrated in England according to the forms of the Romish ponti- 
fical, in the third year of queen Mary." 

In 1564 he was elected to the deanery of St Patrick's by royal 
license, on the consideration of the insufficiency of the revenues of the 
see of Armagh, " his archbishopric being a place of great charge, in 
name and title only to be taken into account, without any worldly en- 
dowment resulting from it." In 1566 he was joined by the clergy of 
Armagh in excommunicating Shane O'Neale, who burned " the metro- 
politan church of Ardmagh ; saying he did it lest the English should 
lodge therein." In the same year he took his doctor's degree in Cam- 
bridge, and was soon after translated to Dublin. 

In 1572 he obtained a dispensation from the queen to hold with his 
archbishopric any sinecures not exceeding 100 in annual value. In 
1573 he was appointed chancellor, and held the office during his life. 
In 1582, and again in 1585, he was one of the lords-justices. 

We pass the particulars of his unhappy quarrel with Sir John Perrot, 
as not essential to the main purpose of this memoir. It chiefly origin- 
ated in the archbishop's determined resolution in preserving the cathedral 
of St. Patrick's from being converted into a university or a law court 
to the prejudice of certain rights of the church. That respecting the 
university was one, the frustration of which might well be counted a stain 
on the memory of Loftus, had it not been fortunately wiped away by 
an ample and honourable compensation. The cathedral of St. Patrick's 


was preserved to the church in its ancient venerable character, and 
the university was soon after instituted by the zealous instrumentality 
of the archbishop. 

The full importance of this institution is too great to admit of its 
being discussed at the termination of this series, where it may escape 
the attention of the greater portion of our readers. We shall pre- 
sently have an occasion to enter on the subject at length. The his- 
tory of the foundation is briefly as follows: 

Such an institution had previously, at different periods of the Anglo- 
Irish history, been attempted, but in vain; the troubles of the country 
were too rife, and the want insufficiently felt : the desire of know- 
ledge is itself a result of intellectual cultivation. This desire was 
one of the chief influences of the Reformation in England ; of which, 
as we shall hereafter more fully explain, learning was soon found to 
be an indispensable requisite. But in Ireland the necessity of some 
native centre of an academical character became strongly perceptible. 
The necessity of looking in England for ministers for the churches, 
and of supplying the deficiency by the employment of illiterate per- 
sonsj grew to be felt as an evil of serious magnitude. To supplv the 
demand of a church essentially connected with knowledge, had become 
a necessity which at the time strongly pressed itself on every culti- 
vated mind. The call was felt with a force which has no expression 
on the cramped page of the annalist. It was indeed the ripeness of 
time ; but, like all the events of time, chiefly traceable to incidental 
causes, and the underworking agents, whose names are made illus- 
trious by changes which must have occurred if they had not been born. 

Loftus having effectually resisted the plan of Sir John Perrot, which 
was to convert St Patrick's church into law courts, and apply its re- 
venues to the foundation of a university, applied to the queen in favour 
of another scheme for that desirable end. For this purpose he pitched 
on the ancient monastery of All-hallows, on Hoggin Green, near 
Dublin. It had been founded by Dermod MacMurragh for Aroasian 
monks in 1166, and been richly endowed, not only by the founder, but 
also by the illustrious Milo de Cogan. Its possessions were confirmed 
by the charter of Henry II. On the dissolution of the monasteries, 
the site of this monastery had been granted to the corporation of, 
Dublin. From this body it was now obtained by the assiduous repre- 
sentations of the archbishop, who told them that the act would be 
" of good acceptance with God, of great reward hereafter, and of 
honour and advantage to yourselves, and more to your learned offspring 
in the future ; when, by the help of learning, they may build your 
families some stories higher than they are, by their advancement either 
in the church or commonwealth." The representations of Loftus had 
the influence due to their truth ; and the city consented to a slight 
sacrifice of property, which was to be compensated by advantages 
more important to Dublin and the country, than they or their adviser 
could well appreciate at the time. They granted the monastery with 
its precincts. 

Loftus next deputed Henry Usher and Lucas Chaloner to England, 
to apply for a charter and license for the mortmain tenure of the 
lands granted by the city. This may be regarded as a matter of 


course, and the deputies quickly returned with the queen's warrant for 
letters patent under the great seal of Ireland, dated 29th December, 
1591, for the incorporation of a university, with power to hold the 
lands granted, with other endowments, to the value of 400 per 
annum. The university was thus incorporated, " by the name of the 
provost, fellows, and scholars, of the holy and undivided Trinity of 
Queen Elizabeth, near Dublin," who were thus duly qualified to 
acquire and hold the lands, tenements, and hereditaments, to them- 
selves and their successors for ever, with certain legal provisions now 
unimportant. Their privilege to teach the liberal arts in Ireland was 
exclusively vested in them, and the license granted to confer degrees. 
They were empowered to make laws for their own internal govern- 
ment a privilege afterwards revoked. The number of the members 
was limited to a provost, three fellows, and three scholars, and their 
functions and privileges were fully defined and guarded.* 

Loftus was appointed first provost ; Henry Usher, Lucas Chaloner, 
and Launcelot Moyne, fellows ; and Henry Lee, William Daniel, and 
Stephen White, scholars ; the first representatives of a body, which 
was in the course of time to produce James Usher, King, Berkely, 
Young, Hamilton, as its members, with a host of other not inferior 
names, which shed the honours of literature and science around their 
country's name. 

The erection of the college was next to be effected. To obtain 
the necessary fund, circular letters were issued by the lord-deputy 
(Fitz- William) and the council to the Irish nobility and gentry, repre- 
senting the importance of the foundation to literature and the re- 
formed church. A contribution was thus obtained ; and in 1593 the 
building was finished for the reception of its inmates. The Ulster 
rebellion, under Hugh, earl of Tyrone, had an unfavourable influence 
on its growth, as its principal endowments lay in the north. But the 
zeal and bounty of Elizabeth, under Providence, carried it through 
this severe trial which menaced ruin to its infant state ; and, in the 
language of Leland, himself one of its illustrious ornaments, " it 
struck its roots securely amid the public storms, and, cultivated as it 
was by succeeding princes, rose to a degree of consequence and splen- 
dour disproportioned to its first beginnings."'!' 

King James endowed this foundation with large grants in Ulster. 
And Charles I., distinguished among the kings of England for his 
love and munificent patronage of all the arts, followed liberally in the 
same course. By his patent the foundation was enlarged ; the fellows 
were increased to sixteen, and the scholars to seventy ; the laws im- 
proved by the repeal of some, and the enactment of other provisions. 
Amongst these, one has more especially struck us as a judicious change ; 
by the charter of the queen it was provided that the fellows were to 
resign their fellowships at the expiration of seven years from their 
election. Such a regulation, by no means so inexpedient in the infant 
state of such a community, was obviously inconsistent with the fur- 
therance of its interests or uses in a more advanced stage of learning. 

* Letters Patent of Charles I., in which the first patent is recited Coll. Slat. 
f Leland, who was a senior fellow, itbout 1771. 

i. 2 R Ir 


While it is to be admitted that one of the main benefits conferred on 
society results from the circulation of the fellowship and the multi- 
plication of academical offspring thus produced, it is equally evident 
that a regulation calculated to diminish the advantages to be sought 
for by a most arduous course of study, must have essentially destroyed 
the intent, so far as the production and circulation of scholars was an 
object. No man, whose intellect was in sound order for any useful 
purpose, would sink his better days in a course of learned labour, to 
be thrown aside like worn-out books when their better days were 
spent. It would be found, save by a very few, that life is short to be 
consumed over the study of the arts ; and most men would shrink 
from a sacrifice thus to be crowned by deprivation. From the consi- 
deration of this defect, remedied in the patent of Charles, will appear 
the consummate wisdom of the provision which secures to society the 
advantage contemplated in the first arrangement, without the counter- 
acting e\ul, and secures the continual circulation of the fellowship, by 
the creation of a beneficial interest to compensate the resignation of 
a functionary whose office has been hardly earned. This object is 
secured by benefices and professorships in the gift of the university, 
which, when they become vacant, are disposed of to such of the 
members as desire them, who thereby vacate their fellowships. 

In 1637 a new charter from king Charles was accompanied by a 
body of statutes, which, with several modifications, are still the laws 
of the university. We shall, a little further on, take up this interesting 
subject, in its advanced and more general bearings on Irish literature 
and civilization. On the ecclesiastical state of Ireland its effects 
were rapid and decisive ; and it appears, from the statements of Spencer, 
that the reformation in Ireland can scarcely be said to have com- 
menced, until its influence was felt in an improvement of the educa- 
tion of churchmen. 

We now return to the provost. In 1597 he was appointed one of 
the lords-justices; and again, in 1599? at the close of this year, he 
was appointed one of the counsellors to the president of Munster. 

In 1603, he died in his palace at St Sepulchre's, and was buried in 
St Patrick's church. He had been forty-two years a bishop. Mr 
Dalton, from whose work on the Archbishops of Dublin we have re- 
ceived valuable assistance in this and some other of our ecclesiastical 
series, concludes his account of Loftus with the remark, " that Anne, 
the second daughter of this prelate, was married to Sir Henry Colley 
of Castle Carbery, and from that union have descended the present 
marquis of Wellesley and the duke of Wellington." 


DIED A. D. 1563. 

THIS ecclesiastic, famous for his many and voluminous writings in 
support of the Reformation, was born at Covy in Suffolk. He was 
for some time a Carmelite, and received his education first at Norwich, 
and afterwards at Cambridge. He early commenced his career as a 
reformer; and was imprisoned for preaching against the doctrines of 


the church of Rome both by Leo, archbishop of York, and again by 
Stokesly, bishop of London: from the latter imprisonment he was 
freed by Cromwell. He was, however, remarkable for an uncompro- 
mising spirit, and went beyond the progress of his leaders in the Eng- 
lish Reformation, and in consequence was compelled to retreat from 
the arbitrary temper of Henry, whose ideas of reformation went little 
further than an usurpation of the papal authority in his own person. 
Bale, who little understood the secrets of court divinity, went forward 
in his course, simply following the guidance of facts, authority, and 
reason. This was not a temper to prosper long in an atmosphere 
where the boldest was compelled to trim his conscience by the tyrant's 
dictum. Bale was compelled to take refuge in Germany, where he 
remained for eight years, and where, it may be conjectured, his opinions 
lost nothing of their decision, or his zeal of its fire. The auspicious 
moment of Edward VI/s accession brought him home, and by the 
favour of this king he was made bishop of Ossory in 1552. Again, 
however, the hapless event of Edward's death harshly interrupted his 
tenure; and he was, in six months from his consecration, compelled to 
fly for the preservation of his life, leaving behind him a good library. 
On his way to Germany he was taken by pirates, but happily ransomed 
by his friends, and reached Germany, where he lived for five years 
more in the peaceful pursuits of literature, and in the society of learned 
men. Among these he formed a special intimacy with Conrad Gesner, 
" as appears," says Ware, " by the epistles which passed between 
them." At the end of five years he returned into England, but 
wisely avoided plunging into the turbid billows of Irish politics and 
controversy. Instead of looking for his bishopric, he contented himself 
with a prebend in the cathedral of Canterbury, where he died in 1563, 
sixty-eight years of age. 

His writings were numerous, and are remarked for their coarse and 
bitter humour. He was violent and satirical ; but his severity is fairly 
to be excused, both on account of the general tone of the polemics of 
his age, which was rude and coarse, and of the state of controversy 
when its currents were fierce and high. On these currents Bale had 
himself been roughly tossed through his whole life. And it was a time 
when a conscientious writer must have felt that no resource then- 
thought available, should be feebly or sparingly used. Among the 
remains of Bale's writings are several of those strange dramas which in 
earlier times had been invented by the monks, in imitation of the an- 
cient drama ; and used in their convents to represent the mysteries of 
the gospel, as understood in the papal church. The priests and doc- 
tors of the earlier reformed religion, emancipated from the more ex- 
treme and unscriptural errors of the medieval church, were neither suf- 
ficiently enlightened or refined to apprehend the incongruity of such 
representations which mixed a shade of burlesque with ideas too pure 
and solemn for the eye of flesh. It was only seen that to the gross 
apprehension of the age, there was in such scenes a power of religious 
impression. Thus the mystery plays, revived in a form somewhat less 
gross, are still found in the social pageants of the earlier times of the 
reformation. The scene was indeed for the most part changed, in 
place as in characteristic incident, being gradually transferred to the 


street, the castle, or the palace. Among the numerous records of the 
social life of the 13th and 16th centuries, there may be found abundant 
descriptions and notices of these representations, in one or other of 
their forms, either personifying the doctrines and characters of Scrip- 
ture history, and embodying the mysteries of religion in some sensible 
representation; or similarly allegorizing the moral virtues and vices. 
As the doctrines of the reformation began to prevail, these productions 
obtained some change of style and use. Having in their earlier intent 
something of the nature and effect of religious ritual, witnessed with 
devotional feeling and sacred awe, they became frequently devoted to 
the purposes of spiritual satire. They naturally subsided into the 
character to which they had always had no slight adaptation ; and their 
powers of essential burlesque were exhausted to turn popular scorn 
and ridicule on the tenets and ritual observances peculiar to the Roman 
Church. In these, ridicule was often carried beyond the bounds of 
discretion, and the reverence due to sacred things ; but not perhaps 
more than' was in some measure warranted by the time. "What," asks 
Warton, " shall we think of the state, I will not say of the stage, but 
of common sense, when these deplorable dramas could be endured? of 
an age, when the Bible was profaned and ridiculed from a principle of 
piety." It seems evident to our plain apprehension, that so far as 
reverence was felt or piety meant, there could have existed no designed 
or conscious purpose of ridicule. And from this axiomatic assumption, 
it must be the inference that those combinations of thought by which 
the refinement of our times is offended in its sense of propriety con- 
veyed nothing of the ludicrous to the rude simplicity of the days of 
Bale. The sense of burlesque materially depends on the extent and 
precision of knowledge; for, the uncouth representation, or the ill-sorted 
combination, can only be so by a comparison with some ascertained or 
imagined prototype. The prince of the air, who awes and terrifies one 
generation with the " horrors of his scaly tail," is in another compelled 
to appear as a courtier or a travelling student, to be fit company for the 
refined wits of posterity; and in a still later and more intellectual and 
less profane generation, he finds it necessary to content himself with his 
latent and viewless empire over human hearts. The dramas of Bale 
were chiefly written before lie became a reformer and a bishop, though 
two or three were afterwards acted by the youths of Kilkenny, on a 
Sunday, at the Market cross. Many of them seem to have long been 
popular. Warton mentions that his " Comedie of the Three Laws, of 
Nature, Moses and Christ, corrupted by the Sodomites, Pharisees, and 
Papists," became so popular, that it was reprinted by Col well in 1562. 


DIED A. D. 1551. 

THIS prelate lived through a time, of which the ecclesiastical history 
demands some detail. This, however, we have given in a memoir of 
George Browne, the reforming archbishop of Dublin. We shall here 
confine our notice of Dowdal to a brief outline. He was born in 


Louth, and became official to Cromer, whom by the interest of the 
lord-deputy St. Leger, he succeeded. He was a staunch adherent to 
the Eoman see, and in consequence of this and his elevated position 
in the Irish church, he was the constant adversary of Browne. Dur- 
ing the short reign of Edward VI., his see was granted to Hugh Good- 
acre, and he lived in exile, but was recalled and restored by queen 
Mary to the archbishopric and primacy, which latter title king Edward 
had given to the see of Dublin. Dowdal was together with other 
bishops commissioned to deprive married bishops and priests of their 
livings, and amongst others they deprived the archbishop of Dublin, 
who after the license of the primitive bishops, and the apostolic precept, 
had thought fit that a bishop should be " the husband of one wife." 

Dowdal went shortly after on ecclesiastical business to London, 
where he died 15th August, 1551. 

To Ware's account of Dowdal he adds, " It is not to be omitted, 
that during the life of George Dowdal, who was in possession of the 
see of Armagh by donation of King Henry VIII., pope Paul III. con- 
ferred the same on Eobert Wancop or Venautius, a Scot, who though 
he was blind from a boy, had yet applied himself to learning with so 
much assiduity, that he proceeded doctor of divinity at Paris. He 
was present at the council of Trent from the first session in 1545, to 
the eleventh in 1547. He was sent legate a latine from the pope to 
Germany, from whence came the German proverb, ' a blind legate to 
the sharp-sighted Germans.' By his means the Jesuits first came into 
Ireland. He died at Paris in a convent of Jesuits, the 10th November, 

DIED A. D. 1594. 

PREVIOUS to his succession to the diocese of Dublin, Allen had been 
variously engaged, and held many preferments in England. Having 
graduated as bachelor of laws in Cambridge, he was appointed to the 
church of Sundrithe in Kent in 1507. Soon after he was collated to 
Aldington, in the same diocese, and from thence was promoted to the 
deanery of Riseburgh in 1511. In 1515 he obtained the living of 
South Osenden in Essex. During this latter incumbency he was sent 
to Rome by Warham, archbishop of Canterbury, as his agent and envoy 
to the Pope. There he continued nine years, during which time he 
was incorporated doctor of laws in Oxford. On his return he became 
Wolsey's chaplain; but was soon removed to Ireland, as his rising 
character, and perhaps his ability and forward spirit, occasioned a 
jealousy between him and another chaplain of Wolsey's, the well-known 
Gardiner, afterwards bishop of Winchester. 

Allen was consecrated archbishop of Dublin on 13th March, 1528. 
His advancement was designed partly in opposition to the wishes of 
Gerald, earl of Kildare, between whom and Wolsey there was a violent 
enmity, and Allen was deemed by his patron a fit person to resist and 
embarrass the earl in Ireland. It was perhaps to give additional effect t 
to this design that Allen was immediately after his appointment made 


chancellor of Ireland. He brought over with him as his secretary 
John Allen, who became after, successively, master of the rolls and 

In 1529 he received the confirmation of the Pope, and in 1530 held 
a consistory in Dublin, of which the acts are preserved in the Black 
Book of Christ Church.f 

In 1532, his enemy, the earl of Kildare, rising into favour, and 
being appointed lord- deputy, succeeded in displacing Allen from the 
chancery bench in favour of Cromer, the archbishop of Armagh, a 
creature of his own, a circumstance which increased the enmity that 
already subsisted between Allen and earl Gerald. The indiscretion of 
the earl was not long in placing formidable advantages in the hand of 
his enemy, and from the moment of this injury a strenuous cabal was 
formed against the Irish administration to expose or misrepresent his 
conduct. It happened favourably to Allen's views, though not quite 
so fortunately for his safety for the desires and true interests of men 
are often wide asunder that Kildare's arrogant and ambitious conduct 
involved him in many suspicious proceedings, and gave offence to many. 
Allen's faction, in consequence, rapidly increased in numbers, and in 
the means of annoyance. In our life of the earl we have already had 
occasion to relate the particulars of this proceeding, and the State Paper 
correspondence affords full and detailed evidence both of its nature and 
means. The council itself became, in fact, what might well be termed 
a conspiracy, if the substantial justice of their complaints did not neces- 
sitate and excuse the course they adopted. 

In 1533 Allen entered into a dispute for precedence with Cromer, 
who had been made chancellor in his room. The controversy appears 
to have been decided in favour of Cromer. Subsequent events, as Mr. 
Dalton observes, put an end to " all controversies concerning bearing 
the cross." An arrangement of a very different nature, also mentioned 
from the State Papers by the same author, affords the only probable 
inference on the subject of the contest. Among the provisions made 
for the defence of the country, it was appointed that " all lords, and 
persons of the spiritualty, shall send companies to nestings and journeys 
in the manner and form following: 

" The archbishop of Armagh, 16 able archers or gunners, appointed 
for the war. The archbishop of Dublin, 20, &c., &c., &c." J 

The consequences of the hostility of Allen's party now began to be 
rapidly and fatally developed. The earl of Kildare having continued 
for some time to plunge deeper- and deeper in the embarrassments 
brought on by his own rashness and his enemies' contrivance, went, for 
the last time, to England, leaving the government to his son, lord 
Thomas Fitz- Gerald, in whose memoir we have fully related the event 
the disgrace of the earl the fatal course of infatuation which led 
his son to an early death and the most foul and inhuman murder of 
Allen. This last-mentioned event took place on the 28th of July, 1534. 
On the preceding evening Allen, reasonably fearful of the enmity he 
had excited, and apprehending the siege of Dublin castle, resolved to 
save himself by a flight into England, and embarked with this intent. 

* Ware's An. + Dalton. J State Papers. 


In the night his vessel was stranded near Clontarf most probably by 
the treachery of the pilot, who was a follower of the Geraldines. 
Finding his danger, the archbishop took refuge in the " mansion of Mr. 
Hollywood of Artane, whose extensive hospitality he commemorates in 
his Repertorium Ovide." The hospitality of his friend could not, 
however, reprieve him from his cruel fate. His retreat was reported 
to Lord Thomas, and the next morning his fell and blood-thirsty foes 
were at the > door. In his shirt he was dragged out, and beaten to 
death. The wretches who committed the crime shortly after came to 
violent deaths. 



DIED A. D. 1390. 

SHORTLY after the death of Thomas de Minot, archbishop of Dub- 
lin, Robert de Wikeford was appointed to tho vacant see. He was 
born at Wikeford Hall in Essex, was a man of learning and ability, 
archdeacon of Winchester, doctor both of the civil and canon law in 
the University of Oxford, and was held in high estimation by Edward 
III., who, on frequent occasions, both employed and rewarded his 
services. Previous to his elevation he was for some time constable of 
Bourdeaux, and assisted in the management of the affairs at Acqui- 
taine, on the Black Prince surrendering that province to his father. 
He removed to Ireland immediately after his appointment to the arch- 
bishopric, and the following year was made chancellor of that king- 
dom. In 1377, on the death of Edward III., he received the writ to 
alter the great seal, and substitute the name of Richard for that of 
Edward, and he was allowed 20 from the treasury for his own 
expenses. He was active and judicious in his management of the 
see, and was permitted to make many valuable additions to it. In 
1381, he was employed in promoting the collection of a clerical sub- 
sidy for Richard, and in 1385 he was again appointed chancellor. At 
a meeting of the prelates and nobles in Naas, he received orders not 
to leave Ireland, where his presence was of much importance, without 
a special licence ; but this he obtained early in 1390, when he removed 
to England, where he intended to remain for a year ; but while there, 
was seized with his last illness, and died August 29th, 1390. 

DIED A. D. 1397. 

ROBERT WALDBY, a man of great learning and natural endowments, 
accompanied Edward the Black Prince to France, and was appointed 
professor of divinity at Toulouse, " where," says Bale, " he arrived to 
such a pitch of excellence, as to be esteemed the first among the 
learned for eloquence and skill in the languages." He was promoted 


to the bishopric of Ayre in Gascony, through the influence of his patron 
Edward, and was some years after translated to the see of Dublin. 
Edward II. continued to him the same consideration and regard 
shown by his father, and about 1392, appointed him chancellor of 
Ireland. He at the same time appointed llichard Metford, the bishop 
of Chichester, treasurer of Ireland ; and on his promotion to Sarum, 
in 1395, Waldby successfully used his interest at court to be removed 
to Chichester, from which he was the following year translated to the 
archbishopric of York. He did not long enjoy this new dignity, being 
attacked with a severe illness early in 1397, and dying on the 29th of 
May in that year. He is buried in the middle of St. Edmond's chapel 
in Westminster Abbey under a marble tomb which bore the following 
inscription, though from some of the brass plates being torn off it is 
now defaced : 

Hie, fuit expertus in quovis jure Robertas ; 
% De Walby dictus: nunc est sub marmore strictus 
Sacrse Scripturae Doctor fuit et Geniturese 
Ingenuus medicus, et Plebis semper amicus; 
Consultor Regis optabat prospera Legis, 
Ecclesiae Choris fuit unus, bis quoque honoris 
Praesul advensis, post Archos Dubliniensis ; 
Hinc Cicestrencis. tandem Primas Eboracensis, 
Quarto Calendas Junii migrant, cursibus anni 
Septem milleni ter C. nonies quoque deni. 

Vos precor Orate ut sint sibi dona beatte. 
Cum sanctis vitse requiescat et sic sine lite. 

He was brother to the learned John Waldby. 
DIED A. D. 1511. 

WALTER FITZ- SIMONS was consecrated archbishop of Dublin in 
1484. Ware calls him " a learned divine and philosopher;" and he 
was bachelor both of the civil and canon law. His knowledge and 
learning, however, did not secure him from deception ; and he became 
a strenuous supporter of the absurd pretensions of Lambert Simnel, 
at whose coronation he assisted in Christ's Church in 1487, when John 
Payn, bishop of Meath, preached a sermon in the presence of the 
lord-deputy, the chancellor, treasurer, and other great officers of state, 
and they placed on the head of Simnel a crcwn taken from the 
statue of the Virgin Mary. This strange delusion being, however, 
quickly dissipated by the capture and degradation of Simnel, the arch- 
bishop renewed his allegiance, and received his pardon the year fol- 
lowing, from Sir llichard Edgecombe, the king's commissioner, who, 
in the great chamber in Thomas Court, received the oaths and recog- 
nizances of the earl of Kildare, then lord-deputy, and all the nobility 
who had been involved in the late rebellion. In 1492, Fitz-Simons 
was made deputy to Jaspar, duke of Bedford, and while he held this 
office Perkin Warbeck made his appearance in Ireland, but from the 
shortness of his stay there at that time, the lord-deputy was not com- 
pelled to take any part either for or against him. He held a parlia- 
ment in Dublin in 1493, and having resigned his office to Viscount 


Gorraanstown, he went to England, both to give the king an account 
of his own administration, and also to make him aware of the general 
state of the kingdom. After remaining there about three months, 
during which time he appears to have made a most favourable im- 
pression on the mind of Henry, he returned to Ireland with ample in- 
structions respecting the management of that country. It is stated 
by Stanihurst that the archbishop being with the king when a highly 
laudatory speech was made in his presence, he was asked by Henry 
his opinion of it, on which the archbishop answered, " If it pleaseth 
your highness it pleaseth me; I find no fault, save only that he flat- 
tered your majesty too much." " Now, in good faith," said the king, 
"our father of Dublin, we were minded to find the same fault our- 
selves." When, in 1496, the king having appointed his son Henry, 
duke of York, lord- lieutenant of Ireland, he put him under the guid- 
ance of the archbishop, in whose " allegiance, diligence, integrity, 
conscience, experience, and learning," he had the most implicit confi- 
dence ; and he at the same time appointed him lord-chancellor. In 
a synod held by the archbishop, he ordained a yearly salary to be paid 
by him and his suffragans to a divinity reader. In the same year the 
see of Glendalough, which had been united to Dublin from the reign 
of king John, but the government of which had been usurped by friar 
Denis White, was re-united to that of Dublin by the voluntary sur- 
render of it by White, whose conscience became oppressed towards the 
end of his life by his illegal tenure of it. Fitz-Simons, having held 
the archbishopric for twenty-seven years, died at Finglass, on the 14th 
of May, Toll, and was buried in St. Patrick's Church. He was a man 
of a very just mind, of high principle, deep learning, and had a grace- 
ful and insinuating address, which particularly qualified him for the 
high sphere in which he moved, and won for him the regard and con- 
fidence of persons of opposite parties and opinions. 


DIED A. D. 1255. 

JOHN HALIFAX, commonly designated Sacrobosco, from Holywood, 
his supposed birthplace in the county of Wicklow, claims a distinguished 
place in the history of science, to which he was a successful contributor 
in a period of intellectual barrenness. His labours may be in some 
measure regarded as closing the first early stage of astronomy, and (at 
some distance), heralding the brighter day of Copernicus, Kepler and 
Galileo. His writings were published, and received as standard in the 
schools, nearly 300 years before the earliest of those illustrious men.* 
And his great work De Sphera held its place as a chief authority during 
that interval of time. 

With the common fortune of great men who have lived in obscure 
times, the personal records of his life are few, and his euthanasia will 
best be found in the darkness which he aided to dispel, and in the low 
contemporary state and obscure prospects of astronomical science. 

* Copernicus died A. D. 1543, Kepler, 1630. 




With this view we will, according to the custom hitherto observed in 
this work, claim indulgence for a brief and glancing sketch of the won- 
derful history of a science, even in its failures, displaying the proudest 
monument of the human intellect. 

The period of Sacrobosco may be viewed as the early dawn of that 
science which will hereafter be recollected as the glory of the nine- 
teenth century. From the sixth century till the thirteenth, there lay 
a dull and rayless torpor over the intellectual faculties, in which the 
science of antiquity was lost. To estimate the advantages and dis- 
advantages which then affected its revival, it may here be sufficient 
to make a few remarks upon the earlier history of science. 

There is a broad interval between the geographical research which 
bounded the known world by the surrounding sea of darkness, whose 
unknown shores were peopled with the Hyperboreans, and Lestrigons, 
and Cimmerians, and other dire chimeras of ignorance, and the voyages 
of Ross p<ad Parry. The step is wide from the gnomon of Thales to the 
practical science of Kater, Sabine and Roy, or to the exquisite scien- 
tific and instrumental precision of the Ordnance Survey in Ireland. 
Wider still is the ascent of discovery between the "fiery clouds" of 
Anaxagoras and his school, and the nebulae the " heaven of heavens" 
of Sir William Herschell, who has expanded the field of observation 
beyond the flight of the sublimest poetry. Yet astronomy had, never- 
theless, been then, and through every period of which there is any record, 
an object of earnest and industrious inquiry. The most striking and 
glorious phenomena of the external world, could not fail at any period 
to excite the admiration, wonder, and speculative contemplation, of a 
being endowed with the vast grasp of reason which has since explored 
them with such marvellous success. They were a study to the inquir- 
ing, and a religion to the superstitious, from the first of times. The 
history of the human mind, perhaps, offers no succession of phenomena 
more illustrative, than the long variety of theories which seem to mark, 
as they descend, the advances of observation, or illustrate the law of 
action, by which the reason of man progresses towards its end. To 
pursue this view would require a volume to itself. It must here 
suffice to say, that hitherto there appears to have existed no adequate 
notions of the system of the heavens ; neither the form or magnitude 
of the earth were known; or the distances, magnitudes, and motions 
of the other great bodies of the solar system. Of the earlier science 
of the Egyptians, the objects were confined to the measurement of 
time ; and if we knew no farther, the error of their ancient year would 
sufficiently fix the limit of their knowledge. The Greek philosophers, 
Pythagoras and his cotemporaries, whose knowledge is referred to 
Egypt, were evidently further advanced, but have left the landmarks 
of their progress in the curious absurdity of their theoretical views. 
It is sufficient that they had no notion, even approaching the truth, on 
the true magnitude and frame of the solar system. Yet it is not to be 
passed over, that even at that early period, the surprising sagacity of 
Pythagoras attained to some just fundamental notions which there 
were then no sufficient means to verify, and which were destined to 
sleep for many ages, till taken up by the Italian geometers in the 
beginning of the sixteenth century. Pythagoras conceived the first 



idea of tlie true system: he supposed the sun to be at rest in the 
centre, and the earth with the other planets to be carried round in 
circular orbits. This great philosopher made even a further step, 
reaching by a very strange and wonderfully ingenious analogy (if the 
story be true) to both the principle of gravitation and the precise law 
of its application. He was, by an accident, led to make experiments 
on sound: by one of these he ascertained the force with which various 
degrees of tension, caused by different weights, acted on strings of 
different lengths, so as to produce proportional intensities of sound. 
This discovery, which is supposed to have been the origin of stringed 
instruments of music, he applied to the solar system, and conjectured 
that the planets were, according to the same principle, drawn to the 
sun, with a force proportional to their several masses and inversely as 
the squares of their distances. It seems to have wanted little to im- 
prove this happy thought; but that little was wanting. There can 
nevertheless be little doubt, that it continued to pass down the stream 
of ages, and to recur to the most sagacious understandings of after- 
times. The fact was veiled by the mystical spirit of the Pythagorean 
and Platonic philosophy, in a mythological dress: Apollo playing on 
his seven-stringed harp, appositely described the harmonious analogy 
of nature's law. It was this conception which originated the idea of 
the music of the spheres, as imagined by the early philosophers of 

Though the geometers of ancient Greece had carried some principal 
branches of mathematics to an astonishing degree of perfection, their 
progress in physical science is chiefly memorable for its errors and 
the narrowness of its scope. Six hundred years before our era, Thales 
had invented the geometry of triangles, and measured the heights of 
the pyramids by their shadows. The elements of plane and solid 
geometry, cultivated in the long interval between, were matured by 
the genius of Euclid, Apollonius, and Archimedes: by this latter 
philosopher, whose genius finds few parallels in human history, me- 
chanics also, and different branches of physical science, were ad- 
vanced to an extent not now to be distinctly defined. But there 
lay around those mighty ancients a vast field of obscurity, which they 
had not attained the means to penetrate. Other aids, both instru- 
mental and theoretical, were reserved for the development of future 
times ; their knowledge was confined in its application to the operations 
of the rule and compass. Beyond this narrow scope lay the wide realm 
since fully explored by the science of Galileo and Newton, inaccessible 
to observation, and darkly explored by conjecture and theory, then, 
as now and ever the resources of human ignorance and curiosity, 
where knowledge cannot reach. 

Nevertheless, so early as the time of Aristotle, the sounder method 
of observation and experiment were known : but the field of knowledge 
was too contracted for the range of speculation. The recognition 
was but partial. Yet from this period, the phenomena of astronomy 
were observed, registered, and submitted to mathematical computa- 
tion. The visible stars were grouped and catalogued, eclipses were 
calculated, and attempts were made, on sound geometrical principles, 
to measure the circumference of the earth. Just notions of the 


system were even entertained, but upon inadequate grounds, and amidst 
a variety of theoretical systems; and it was not until the year 150 B.C. 
that Eratosthenes, the librarian of Alexandria, measured an arc of th 
meridian, and computed the earth's circumference. Among the remark- 
able circumstances of the interesting progress of this vast and sublime 
development of genius and observation, thus in (as it were) the first 
stage of its elevation, two are specially to be observed, for their essential 
connexion with the history both of astronomy and of human reason. The 
one, had we time and space, would lead us into the history of astrology 
a wonderful combination of the great and little properties of human 
nature, under the towering shadows of which the science of observa- 
tion was preserved and fostered in its growth. The other is the 
beautiful application of an expedient still employed in natural philo- 
sophy, for the same purpose of embodying and subjecting to computa- 
tion the results of experience. A system purely empirical combined 
the observed phenomena of the known bodies of the solar system, in 
such a manner, that being framed so as to include all that could be 
observed of their motions, it was thus not only adapted for the purpose 
of computation within those limits, but also served to lead to a closer 
and more precise measure of phenomena, which, without the reference 
to some standard system, might easily escape the minute observation 
necessary for the detection of small quantities of motion or changes 
of position, such as might lead to further corrections. Of such a 
nature was the hypothesis by which Apollonius first attempted to solve 
the seemingly anomalous motions of the planets. This curious system, 
which was the faith of Europe for fourteen centuries, is worth the 
reader's attention, and, without any certainty that we can render it 
popularly intelligible, we shall here attempt to describe it. 

In conformity with the universal tendency to explain phenomena by 
assumptions which seem the most natural, it first began to be the 
received opinion that the sun and planets moved in circular paths 
round the earth, which was supposed to be fixed in the centre. The 
parallel paths and circular apparent motions of the phenomena of the 
heavens, suggested the notion of a crystalline sphere, in which the 
multitude of the stars was set, and which revolved with a solemn 
continuity round its terrestrial centre. The observation of the unequal 
and contrary apparent motions of the moon and planets extended the 
theory, and separate spheres of hollow crystalline were devised, to 
account for these diverse phenomena. It was to these vast concaves, 
thus spinning round with complicated but harmonious times and move- 
ments, that some Eastern poets have attributed a sublime and eternal 
harmony, unheard in this low world, but heard we should presume, 
in the 

" Starry mansion of Jove's court." 

Such was the first rude and simple outline of the system as adopted by 
Aristotle and old Eudoxus. Closer and further observation, in the 
course of time, detected phenomena inconsistent with such a system, 
and for a time astronomers were content to observe. In proportion to 
the multiplication of phenomena, conjecture became more timid, and 
system more difficult. At last, the ingenuity of the geometer Apollo- 


nius contrived the first form of a theory which explained the great 
irregularities of those planetary motions, which most readers now 
understand to be the combined result of the separate motions of the 
earth and planets. Instead of a concave sphere having its centre of 
motion in the earth, Apollonius conceived each of the planets to be 
carried round on the circumference of a circle, which was itself carried 
round upon another circle, the circumference of which was the path 
of its centre. By this ingenious device, the planetary phenomena now 
so well known by the terms direct, retrograde, and stationary, seemed 
to be explained. The appearance of a new star, and the long and 
laborious course of observation into which it led Hipparchus, who under- 
took in the true spirit of inductive philosophy to catalogue the stars, 
conducted this great astronomer to the discovery of the precession of 
the equinoxes. 

A new circle, on which the sun was moved, according to the law 
already explained, reduced this phenomenon to the same convenient 
system. To this great geometer is attributed the invention of the 
method of latitude and longitude, by which the position of places on 
the earth is ascertained: the invention of spherical trigonometry is 
said also to be among his discoveries.* Of these, however, the most 
considerable portion were lost, and the remains appear only to be 
known by their preservation in the Almagest of Ptolemy. Three 
hundred years after the great philosophers already mentioned, their 
system, with the addition of whatever observation had added iu the 
interval, came into the hands of Ptolemy, whose name it has ever since 
borne. This great man, not undeservedly, called prince of astronomers 
by the ancients, may be described as the Laplace of old astronomy: 
he collected, combined, and completed the results of observation, and 
reduced the real and theoretical knowledge of his predecessor into an 
improved, corrected, and augmented theory. A system of empirical 
knowledge, even then displaying a grand and sublime aspect of the 
vast capability of human reason, though now chiefly valuable for its 
connexion with the faith, the superstition, and poetical remains of 
other times ; unless to those who can appreciate its value as a magni- 
ficent ruin of ancient philosophy, more instructive and more sublime 
than Thebes or Palmyra. 

Of this system, of which we have forborne to attempt a detailed 
description, (which would only embarrass the reader who does not 
already understand it,) one of the effects was, to render permanent the 
errors which it contained, by the seeming precision with which it 
explained and calculated the known phenomena of nature. The broad 
intelligence of Hipparchus and Ptolemy were probably not deceived: 
they understood the nature of the process too well: they were aware 
that a theory which comprised, in its first elements, the whole visible 
phenomena, as well as the rates of movement and times of occurrence, 
must necessarily, within certain limits, appear to reproduce them as 
results of calculation. But the very fact that a known succession of 
phenomena could be thus deduced from a theory, seemed to offer an 
unanswerable verification of its truth, to a long succession of mindless 

* Laplace Systeme Ju Monde. 


ages, whose broken recollections of ancient knowledge were simply the 
dreams of superstition. 

A long period of ignorance followed, in which all science was lost, 
and human reason was engrossed in devising sophisms and subtle 
errors. Science, lost in Europe, found refuge in the East ; and about 
the end of the seventh century began to be cultivated with extraordi- 
nary zeal and success by the Arabians, who invented algebra, and are 
also supposed to have invented trigonometry. They translated a vast 
number of works of Greek science, and among the rest the Almagest 
of Ptolemy, about the beginning of the ninth century. 

At the revival of learning in Europe, astronomy, which had always 
more or less occupied the schools, from its connexion with astrology, 
as well as its essential combination with the adjustments of the calendar, 
began earliest to occupy attention. Among the works of science 
brought from Arabia, the Almagest of Ptolemy was obtained, and 
translated into Latin, by the patronage of Frederick III., in 1230. 
From this, a quick succession of astronomers and geographers began 
to construct anew the science of antiquity. 

The progress of geographical knowledge had been far more retarded 
and uncertain. Being chiefly dependent on detailed and local research, 
it was the less likely to be advanced beyond the narrow limits occupied 
by civilized nations. Notwithstanding the measurement of Eratos- 
thenes, which is supposed to have been not far from correctness, the 
geographers who follow for many ages were farther from any approach 
to the truth. The maps of various geographers of the middle ages, 
are still extant, to prove how restricted were the bounds of the known 
world ; the farther extremities of Europe, Asia, and Africa, were shut 
out from all but conjecture: America was yet undreamed of. The 
knowledge which actually existed was more due to commerce and 
conquest than to science ; and the march of the army, or the station of 
the caravan, were more to be relied on than the chart of science. In 
England, the first idea of a topographical survey originated in the 
distribution of the Saxon lands by the Norman conqueror, and gave 
rise to the celebrated compilation called Doomsday Book. The cru- 
sades gave some impulse to the advance of topographical knowledge. 
The travels of Marco Polo extended geography widely into the East. 
A long and improving course of maritime discovery set in, and as 
navigation became cultivated, far less obstructed voyages of discovery 
soon afforded more correct and extended notions of the compass and 
form of the old world. Still, however, the condition of geographical 
knowledge considered as a science, remained in the state in which it 
was left by Ptolemy. 

It is in this state of the science that the great standard work of 
Sacrobosco finds its place. It held the schools for the following 
300 years, went through numerous translations, and has been published 
with a commentary by Clavius. It might still have held its ground, 
and Sacrobosco his fame, but for the revolutions in science which the 
sixteenth century produced. A succession of new intellects broke from 
the regenerated schools of antiquity. The cycle of a long decline of 
scientific genius seemed to have rolled back into its renovation of youth- 
ful vigour, the geometry of Archimedes, Apollonius, and Euclid, 


seemed to conduct Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo back to the era of 
Pythagoras. These great men discovered the inadequacy of the 
Ptolemaic system to account for the phenomena of the solar system, 
They were silenced by the despotism of ignorance ; but they propa- 
gated the impulse of right reason, and the light they left never slej,t 
till it came into the school of England and the hand of Newton. 
Every one is aware of the main facts of the Newtonian system. But 
should any one who has read so far, ask the question which has been 
often asked what is our security that the system of Newton is not as 
fallacious as the system of Ptolemy? the only answer we can give is 
this, that the principles of their construction are not simply different, 
but opposite the one was a system devised to explain appearances, the 
other an undevised system, self-built, from discovered truth the one 
was a theory, the other a collection of accurately ascertained facts the 
one was intentionally assumed to represent what meets the eye, the 
other studiously rejecting both assumptions and appearances, may be 
regarded as the laborious work of the observation of ages, slowly 
falling together, until a hand of power revealed the fundamental 
fact which disclosed the secret system of nature. The distances, 
magnitudes, and motions of the system are facts, tangible to sense: 
the theory of gravitation rests on the most universal analogy yet 
discovered, and on the most varied and complex confirmation of 
geometrical reasoning and computation. " The terms attraction and 
gravity," says Mr. Woodhouse, " are not meant to signify any agency 
or mode of operation. They stand rather for a certain class of like 
effects, and are convenient modes of designating them.'' The law of 
gravity is the statement of a fact. If it were to be disproved, the vast 
system of facts, of which it is the combining principle, still remains 
the same a symmetrical collection of calculable facts, unmixed with a 
single inference from mere theory. 

This ancient mathematician and astronomer taught the mathematical 
sciences, as then known, in the university of Paris, in 1230. Besides 
his standard work on the sphere, he also wrote on the astrolabe, on the 
calendar, and an arithmetical treatise. He died in Paris, in 1235, and 
was buried in the church " D. Maturini." * 

DIED A. D. 1308. 

THE birth-place of Duns is disputed by different authorities: the 
English and Scotch lay claim to him; but Wadding, his biographer, 
adjudges him to Ireland. This conclusion is supported by the adjunct 
of Scotus, then unquestionably assumed as distinctive of Irish origin ; 
and it may be observed, that it never has been (and could not have been) 

*" Johannes a Sacro Bosco, Philosophus et Mathematicus insignus, clarnit 
anno 1230. Hunc Balams, ex Lelando Anglum facit, natump; Halifaxse tradit 
in Agro Eboracensi, ac hide nomen accepisse, sed perperam procul dubio. Nam 
Halifax Sacrum capillum significan, non Sacrum Boscum. Dempsterus Scotum 
facit. Stanihurstus et Alij Hibernum volunt et Hollywood^, natum, in Agro 
Dubliniensi. In hac opinionum varietate nihil definio." Ware. 


tnus applied to any Scotchman, as it is evident that, so applied, it would 
have had no distinctive signification. The schools of Ireland, were at 
the time celebrated for a science, which was eminently adapted to the 
Irish genius rather quick and ingenious than solid or profound. A 
remark which, to apply to the modern Irish, must, we confess, undergo 
some allowances and deductions, for the modifications derived perhaps 
from an intermixture of blood. Scotus was born about the year 1 266, in 
the province of Ulster, according to Cavellus, Luke, and Wadding:* he 
was educated in the university of Oxford, and became a Francis- 
can friar. From Oxford he went to the university of Paris, where 
his logical ability quickly made him eminent, and be became a fol- 
lower of Thomas Aquinas, the famous angelical doctor. During his 
residence in Paris, he acquired universal applause by an exploit inciden- 
tal to his age. 

The itinerant sophist has long disappeared with the knight errant 
and the travelling bard : the increase of knowledge has lessened the 
value of disputative skill, as the advance of civilization has somewhat 
cheapened the estimation of physical prowess: and the teeming profu- 
sion and facility of the press has obviated the necessity of the viva 
voce encounters of the controversialist. Some remains of this custom, 
may perhaps, be said to have yet a glimmering existence in Ireland ; 
which in some respects is entitled to be called the limbus Patrum 
of antiquity: we allude to the known practice of the Irish hedge 
schools, of which the most distinguished scholars travel about from 
school to school, on a tour of disputation, in which they both add 
to their learning and endeavour to maintain superiority of know- 
ledge.! This literary knight-errantry may perhaps be regarded as a 
monument of the time when the wandering doctors of Paris, Bologna, 
and Padua, and the still more subtle disciples of St ComgalPs ancient 
university, used to travel from college to college, with the spear and 
shield of Aristotle peripatetic in every sense and win honours by 
proving black was white, in opposition to all antagonists. Duns, whose 
chivalry was in this at least not deficient, had early in life made a 
vow to support the honour of the Virgin. It was for this purpose that 
he presented himself to the university of Paris, and offered to maintain 
against all opponents, her freedom from original sin. A day was set, 
and the university assembled its powers and intelligence to witness 
this trial of dialectic skill. Many students and doctors of acknowledged 
reputation impugned the proposition of the Irish logician. Duns having 
fully stated the question, allowed his adversaries to discuss it in full 
detail ; and for three interminable days the torrent of their logic 
flowed, and involved their hearers in the tangled web of scholastic 
distinctions. Meanwhile, Duns, nothing dismayed, sat listening with 
a patient and unmoved steadiness of aspect and demeanour, which 
puzzled all the spectators, and made every one think him a miracle of 
patience. They were however to be still more astonished, when after 
three days of ceaseless verbosity had spun the question into two hun- 

* Cited by Ware, Scriptoribus Hib. Ed. 1639- 

f An ample and curious account of these worthies may be found in Carleton'a 
Traits and Stories of the Irish peasantry. 


dred elaborate arguments, and the Parisian disputants confessed there 
was no more to be said Duns calmly arose and recited all their several 
arguments, which one after the other he unanswerably refuted. And 
then while the whole body were yet digesting his superiority in silent 
dismay, he recommenced and annihilated his already prostrate antago- 
nists with some hundred more unanswerable arguments for the ques- 
tion. The university was convinced, and not only gave Duns his 
doctor's degree, with the well-merited title of the " subtle doctor," but 
also decreed that the doctrine thus affirmed should be held by the 
university in future. We may presume that the university kept its 
own law: but Duns was not to be tied by the webs of his own sub- 
tlety, and proved his claim at least to the title they conferred, by after- 
wards maintaining a different view of the question. The reputation 
of Duns grew, and his popularity increased, until it became unfit that 
he should any longer continue to be reputed the follower of another. 
To one like Duns, to whom every side of every question must have 
been equally conclusive, it was easy to find room to differ: and he 
soon found a fair field of controversy with his great Neapolitan master, 

Of Aquinas, our reader may wish to know some particulars. He 
was the son of the illustrious family of Aquino, in the Terra di Lavoro, 
in Italy. Contrary to the wish of his parents he became a Dominican 
friar ; and the monks were compelled for some time to remove him 
from place to place, to maintain their possession of a youth of such 
high promise. He was at one time seized during a journey by his 
brothers, and kept for two years in confinement; he was however 
found out by the Dominicans, and with their aid contrived to let him- 
self down from a window, and escaped. At last having completed the 
course of study then pursued, he went to Paris and took a doctor's 
degree : from Paris he returned to Italy, and set up his school at 
Naples. He soon began to be regarded as the great light of the age, 
and more than any other writer contributed to the triumph of the 
scholastic over the ideal or mystic schools. He was among the first 
and greatest of those who introduced the theological method of col- 
lecting and digesting into a theory the doctrines of scripture. His 
system, immediately on its publication, received the most distinguished 
honour and acceptance and he was ranked after death by Pius V. 
as the fifth doctor of the church: he was also called the angel of the 
church, and the angelical doctor. His death took place in 1274, and 
he was canonized by pope John XXII.* 

Such was the mighty antagonist which Duns assailed. The nature 
of the co-operation between divine grace and human will, and the measure 
of imparted grace necessary to salvation, were among the most promin- 
ent points of difference. The Dominicans sided with their own great 
light : the Franciscans were no less arduous in support of their subtle 
doctor ; and a violent division renewed the animosity of these two 
famous orders. Such was the origin of the two sects who are known 
by the names of Scotists and Thomists.f 

Scotus returned from Paris to Oxford, where he for some time uon- 

* Eufield's Philosophy. f Mosheim. 

* 2s Ir 


tinned to preach and write, with increasing celebrity. But again, 
visiting Paris, he was tempted to make au effort to settle in a place 
which was the stage of his greatest celebrity. He continued to teach 
there for about one year, when he was summoned away by the gene- 
ral of the Franciscans to Cologne. On his approach to Cologne, he 
was received with all the honour due to his reputation. Here he con- 
tinued his course of teaching to the numerous scholars whom hi* 
renown attracted, until his death. He was one day engaged in deliver- 
ing a lecture to a crowded audience, when a sudden stroke of paralysis 
arrested his discourse ; it proved fatal in a few hours. His works 
filled twelve massive folios which remain a monument of his formid- 
able fertility ; and, considering that he died in his 42d year, present 
no slight illustration of the copious facility of a science which began 
and ended in words and verbal distinctions a science which rejected 
the restraint of facts and the limits of the understanding and with a 
compass beyond the grasp of Archimedes, pretended to wield infinity and 
omniscience without asking for a ground on which to rest the lever of 
the schools. 

Such a state of knowledge may well awaken the interest of many 
readers, not conversant in the history of the period. For the benefit of 
such we must now attempt the performance of the promise with which 
we commenced this memoir; and as in the life of Sacrobosco we gave 
a cursory sketch of the science of the age, so we shall now offer some 
brief notice of the philosophy of the schools. 

The earlier writers of the church had derived their system of theo- 
logy from the scriptures. In the course of time, by a natural and 
very intelligible transition, these earlier divines themselves became the 
text-book of authority, and gradually began to occupy the place of the 
scriptures ; thus in the decline of literature and philosophy, leading grad- 
ually to their disuse. Theology, thus removed from its foundations, was 
thrown open to the bewildering ingenuity of speculation. The corrupted 
Platonism of the Alexandrian school, early adopted into the theological 
school, and largely infused into many of the ancient writers, became in 
some measure the substance of opinion and controversy ; and it is chiefly 
to the Irish schools of the middle ages that the honour is attributed of 
an idea which, though sadly misapplied, was yet in its principle not 
devoid of justness. It was proposed as a new discovery, that it was 
unworthy to take truths of such importance upon the opinions of falli- 
ble authorities, when they might themselves, by the exercise of rea- 
son, ascertain what was true from the original documents. But unfor- 
tunately, they were utterly devoid of any just knowledge of the use or 
the limits of reason. From the scripture by the application of the most 
absurd system of metaphysics that ever was wiredrawn from sophistry 
and superstition, in the absence of common sense they spun the sacred 
text into allegories and idealisms, that seem more like the ravings of deli- 
rium, than the sober interpretation of Divine truths revealed to human 
apprehension. Such briefly was the form taken by the ancient sect 
known by the name of Mystics, whose earlier history it does not suit 
our limits to enter upon. It is perhaps best understood to have 
arisen anew from the study of Augustine, whose writings it strongly 
tinctures, and who was a favourite in the cloisters of the middle agts. 


A weak glimmer of the peripatetic logic, existing- in the same periods, 
seems to have had little influence in correcting this abuse : the early 
writers of the church had condemned the writings of Aristotle as incon- 
sistent with divine truth : and the only surviving remains of logical 
science seems to have been au imperfect system of dialectics ascribed 
to St Augustin, who was at one time an ardent follower of the Stoic 
philosophy. At length however an increased communication with 
Arabia, when about the twelfth century it became customary for 
learned men to travel in quest of knowledge, was the means of intro- 
ducing Saracenic translations of the works of Aristotle. The imme- 
diate consequence was an infusion of new opinions into the church, 
founded upon new methods of reasoning. 

The church, vigilant in the superintendence of opinion, soon found 
cause to check the growing evil. Several doctors tested by the jealous 
thermometer of orthodoxy, were found wanting in the standard shade 
of Platonism they were cited before councils, and had their books pub- 
licly burned fortunate in preceding by a few years the period when 
they might have shared a common fate with their offending volumes. 
A general prohibition of the writings of Aristotle quickly ensued. 

At a somewhat earlier period such a prohibition would have been 
imperatively felt ; but it was a time when a fresh impulse had been im- 
parted to the human mind: the world was awaking from a long sleep, 
and men in every country of Europe began to look around for light. 
The orthodox bowed submission, but the schools were at the moment 
filled with the swarming race of a new generation, and the writings of 
Aristotle were zealously studied. The mind of the schools soon be- 
came largely infused with the elements of a new spirit; and the youth of 
the age grew up with a deeply imbued love of disputation and sub- 
tlety. The church itself felt and yielded to the strong reaction ; and, 
when the growing evil could no longer be suppressed, with its ever 
admirable tact and sagacity, endeavoured to neutralize and gradually 
adopt the perilous instrument of human reason. Fortunately for its 
views, some steps of progress were still wanting to make the instru- 
ment dangerous. The love of logic grew; and it became the subject 
of loud complaint that disputation filled the schools with its noise, and 
occupied the place of all other study. Disputation became the pride 
and study of the scholar and the business of life victory became the 
source of fame and the test of opinion. The consequence is easily in- 
ferred, for it was inevitable. Opinion thus became the end of all study, 
and took the place of the love of truth. The instincts of the mind 
were sophisticated; the subtle, word-splitting Scholastic was the fruit 
of this anomalous culture. 

A few words must here be said on the writings, which were the 
foundation of this corruption of human reason. The writings of 
Aristotle were but imperfectly understood by their Arabian transla- 
tors, and became additionally corrupt in the transfusion of a second 
medium. Originally obscure from the strictly scientific method of 
the Greek philosopher, and the total absence of those indirect artifices 
of style which are commonly used for illustration, an erroneous and 
fantastic commentary swelled the volume, and was received as the 
better part of its substance, so that to use the language of a historian, 


the students were as much indebted to Averroes as to Aristotle. A 
philosophy at the same time corrupt, obscure, and peculiarly unadapted 
to the state of human knowledge at the period, gradually filled the 
schools. Its effects were in no respect beneficial a generation unac- 
quainted with the uses of reasoning, and destitute of the first elements 
of real knowledge on which it must proceed, became smitten with a deep 
love of its forms. The syllogistic method which accurately represents 
the operation of reasoning,* and offers both an excellent discipline 
to the intellect, and a certain test to the value of inference from ascer- 
tained premises was mistaken for something which it did not pretend 
to be. It became, in the hands of subtle ignorance, a superstition of 
the intellect a sort of verbal magic by which any thing could be 
proved. The forms of reason were substituted in the place of reason, 
and words took the place of things : for nearly four hundred years the 
just progress of the human understanding was retarded by the quib- 
bling and interminable jargon of men like Aquinas and Scotus, and the 
German doctor Albertus, through whom the European schools became 
acquainted with the writings of the Stagyrite.f 

Thus misunderstood and misapplied, Aristotle, from being first 
opposed by the policy of the church, soon acquired universal domi- 
nion. " And so far from falling under the censure of councils and popes, 
the Aristotelian and Saracenic philosophy became the main pillars of 
the ecclesiastical hierarchy. In the year 1366, cardinals were ap- 
pointed by Urban to settle the manner in which the writings of 
Aristotle should be studied in the university of Paris: and in the 
year 1462, Charles VII. ordered the works of Aristotle to be read 
and publicly explained in that university. Thus the union between 
the peripatetic philosophy and the Christian religion was confirmed, 
and Aristotle became not only the interpreter, but even the judge 
of St Paul.":}: From this period to the Reformation, the church and 
the universities resounded with dispute and frothy contentions, long 
and difficult to specify by clear and intelligible distinction: the Thomist 
and Scotist, of whom we have mentioned the leading differences the 
still more prolonged and vehement controversy of the Nominalists and 
Realists, which we shall fully state in our memoir of Bishop Berkeley, 
with half a dozen main shades of opinion, were contested with idle 
words and not idle hands, in foaming disputation and sanguinary fray. 

The reformers in their turn produced a re-action, which, however 
salutary it must be admitted to have been in arresting the further 
advance of this state of philosophy, passed into the opposite extreme. 
Though it introduced a sound exercise of reason, and a return to the 
legitimate field of facts, yet by the law of opposition, so universally 
discernible in human opinion, they confounded the instrument with 
the vitiated use to which it bad been applied. With the indiscriminate 
vigour of immature knowledge, in rejecting the doctrines they cast 
away all that was even accidentally in contact with them. In con- 
demning the adversary, the house in which he lived, the garb he wore, 

* See Whately's Logic for a satisfactory explanation on this long unnoticed fact, 
t Gillies' Introduction to Aristotle's Rhetoric. 
J Enfield's Abridgment of Brucker. 


the very ground he trode on, grew criminal in their eyes. Among 
the many extrinsic adjuncts of Romanism thus condemned, the vast 
intellectual outwork of the scholastic philosophy could not hope to 
escape ; and the works of Aristotle, unhappily confounded with this 

tumid and inane excrescence of human reason, were denounced. 

" With the light of the gospel," writes Mr Gillies, " the champions of 
the Reformation dispelled the pestilent exhalations, and disparted the 
gorgeous but cloud- built castles with which the schoolmen had sur- 
rounded a fortress of adamant ; for the genuine philosophy of Aris- 
totle remained entire, unhurt, and alike concealed from the combatants 
on either side. The reformers, engaged in an infinitely greater under- 
taking, were not concerned in distinguishing the master from his 
unworthy scholars, and in separating the gold from the dross."* The 
violence of opposition, which was the speedy result of this indiscrimi- 
nating but perfectly natural (and not unjustifiable) spirit, pursued the 
Stagyrite to his last retreats, the walls of colleges. The general 
reader of the present age will easily indeed recall the reproaches of 
the light-armed and superficial skirmishers of modern reviews and 
pamphlets discharged against the university of Oxford, on the score of 
the assumed worship of Aristotle. His works, only known to some 
of the leading writers of the very last generation, through the same 
impure sources from which they were presented to Scotus and his 
clamorous fraternity, were ignorantly assailed, and as ignorantly 
defended. The profound and elementary comprehension of Bacon, 
the perspicacious common sense of the admirable Locke, handed 
down the same subtle errors to the essentially scholastic intellect of 
Hume. Kames, Harris, Monboddo, Reid, and Stewart, all combined, 
in more or less specious inaccuracy and misapprehension; and it 
seems to have remained for the latest writings which have proceeded 
from the universities of Dublin and Oxford, to dispel the false medium 
either by strong remonstrance or clear and demonstrative exposition. 
To the leading writers who might be noticed at length on this subject, 
we have given as much notice as the summary character of our under- 
taking permits. We shall conclude this notice with an extract from 
one of the most distinguished writers of the age an illustrious 
ornament of our Irish university, whose memoir must hereafter give 
value and interest to our pages the late worthy and able prelate, 
archbishop Magee. " It has been singularly the fate of the Greek 
philosopher, to be at one time superstitiously venerated, and at another 
contemptuously ridiculed, without sufficient pains taken, either by his 
adversaries or his admirers, to understand his meaning. It has been 
too frequently his misfortune to be judged from the opinions of his 
followers rather than his own. Even the celebrated Locke is not to 
be acquitted of this unfair treatment of his illustrious predecessor in 
the paths of metaphysics ; although, perhaps, it is not too much to say 
of his well known essay, that there is scarcely to be found in it one 
valuable and important truth concerning the operations of the under- 
standing, which may not be traced in Aristotle's writings ; whilst, at 
the same time, they exhibit many results of deep thinking, which have 

* Preface to Aristotle's Rhetoric, p. 23. 


entirely escaped Locke's perspicacity. Indeed, it may be generally 
pronounced of those who have, within the two last centuries, been 
occupied in the investigation of the intellectual powers of man, that 
had they studied Aristotle more, and (what would have been a necessary 
consequence) reviled him less, they would have been more successful 
in their endeavours to extend the sphere of human knowledge."* 

This curious transition of human knowledge has led us on to a length 
of remark which we do not consider due to Scotus; unless, perhaps, 
it be considered, that the eminence which he attained in the sophistry 
of his age, must still have been the result of some highly distinguished 
intellectual powers. They were unhappily wasted gifts. His volu- 
minous works, too long for the narrow period assigned to human 
study, repose with monumental silence and oblivion on the shelves of 
learned libraries the too quiet habitations of the unmolested spider, 
who builds in their safe obscurity, and emulates their labours with 
skill as fine and less abused. If in a listless moment the student casts 
his wandering eye over the ponderous masses of unopened lore which 
seem to encumber the shelves of neglected school divines, his mind may 
be crossed by a reflection on the vast toil of thought and earnest stress 
of passion, the years of study and ambitious hope to gain distinction, 
which were melted down in the accumulation of those most neglected 
labours. He may thus be conducted by a widely different track to 
the same feelings, which the moral poet has expressed in the most 
simply just and eloquent strain which human pen ever wrote, upon the 
vanities of this life of wasted faculties and fleeting duration : 

" Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid, 
Some mind once pregnant with celestial fire ; 
Hands which the rod of empires might have swayed, 
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre." 



THE editor begs to apologize to the Irish historical student for the 
omission in the following chronological summary of numerous names 
that might fitly be included under this class. So little is known of 
their personal history, that he could not avoid the consideration, that 
the space they must have occupied in this series would be altogether 
too much for a popular work, and would be regarded as objectionable 
by the numerous readers who cannot be assumed to look beyond the 
amusement of a leisure hour. A small selection has been made of those 
most noticed by antiquarian writers: or which are noticeable for any 
special circumstances. To the general reader it may be observed, that 
all the persons here mentioned were illustrious in their day, and have 

* Magee on the Atonement. 


some claim to be so still. Their writings are extant, and form a curious 
and unique department of national literature. Of some of these we can 
offer no further account than the mention of their works; and a few 
are withheld, because we shall have to notice their writings more at 
large under the general head of Irish literature. 

MAL SUTHAIN O'CARROLL, is remarkable for having been the writer 
who commenced the Annals of Innisfallen. Of these important docu- 
ments we have had occasion to give some account at an earlier period. 
Generally speaking, the more important portions of the literature of 
this and several following centuries, can only be viewed with advantage, 
in their collective character, and in those later times, when their record 
closes and the history of their transmission (the most important question 
in which they are concerned,) comes before us: Of the general his- 
tory of the literature of this period, we have already given some short 
account under the lives of Scotus and John Halifax. During the 
greater part of the period, literature must be considered as on the de- 
cline in Ireland. There nevertheless wanted not accomplished Irish 
scholars in every department then existing. The following small selec- 
tion from numerous names, exhibit the fact that poetry at least was not 

Of the illustrious O'Carroll, we can only add, that he was not only 
one of the most learned monks of the island, but of his time, and had 
the added distinction of high birth. He died, according to the Four 
Masters, in the year 1009. 

IRELAND, of all countries in the world, is best entitled to the appel- 
lation of the "Land of Song," from her early writers being almost 
invariably poets, and verse having been selected as the easiest and simp- 
lest medium for conveying their thoughts, whether the topic was religion, 
war, or individual history. Among these, Mac Liag takes a very 
prominent place, being honoured by the title of " chief poet of Ireland," 
besides being the friend and chief antiquary of Brian Boroimhe. He 
was the son of Conkeartach, a doctor or professor of some eminence, 
and early became a favourite with his royal master, whose " fifty 
battles" he enthusiastically commemorates, and whose triumphant fall 
on the plains of Clontarf, he so pathetically but proudly details. His 
chief writings are "the Munster Book of Battles," which gives the 
most authentic detail of the encounters with the Danes, down to the 
battle of Clontarf; a life of Brian Boroimhe; a poem of an hundred 
and sixty verses upon the descendants of Gas, son of Conal Each 
Luath, king of Munster; and one of nearly the same length, on the 
twelve sons of Kennedy, father of Brian Boroimhe; also three sepa- 
rate poems, lamenting the fall of Brian, and strongly expressive of his 
own personal grief on the event; one beginning, "Oh Cinn-coradh, 
where is Brian ; " another, " Westward came the fall of Brian ; " and 
the last, which was written in the Hebrides, where Mac Liag went 
after the death of Brian, begins, "Long to be without delight," and 


bitterly mourns over his own lost happiness, and the desolation of 
Cinn-coradh. His death took place, according to tho Four Masters, 
in 1015. 

ERAUD MAC Coisi, one of the historians of Ireland, and " chief 
chronicler of tlie Gaels," carried on a literary contest of some length 
with Donough, son of Brian Boroimhe, in the course of which Donougli 
asserts the superiority of his father, and the Munster troops over Maol- 
seachlainn, in a poem of an hundred and ninety-two verses, while Erard, 
who was secretary to the Leinster king, contends with equal warmth 
for the more doubtful pre-eminence of his own master. He died in 
Clonmacnoise in the year 

CUAN O'LoCHAlN, who was considered the most learned antiquarian 
and historian of his time, was made joint regent of Ireland with Core- 
ran, a clergyman, on the death of Maolseachlainn. His virtues and 
talents were of a very high order, and he was the author of various 
poems ; one of them descriptive of the splendour of the royal palace of 
Tarah, in the time of Cormac Mac Art, monarch of Ireland; another, 
on the rights and privileges of the monarch, and provincial kings of 
Ireland : the first of an hundred and eighty verses, and the next of an 
hundred and forty-eight; besides a poem of fifty-six verses, on the 
origin of the name of the river Shannon. The annals of Tighernach, 
Innisfallen, and the Four Masters state his having been killed in 
Teathbha, in 1024. 

DUBDALETHY or DUDLEY, archbishop of Armagh, was son of 
Mselbury, senior lecturer of divinity in that city. He wrote annals of 
Ireland, beginning at 962, and ending 1021, which are quoted both 
in the Ulster Annals, and by the Four Masters. He was highly 
esteemed for his learning both in Ireland and Scotland; and when in 
the year 1050, he made a circuit of Cineal Conaill, he obtained three 
hundred cows from the people of that country. Colgan says, that he 
also wrote an account of the archbishops of Armagh down to his own 
time. He died the 1st of Sept., 1065. 

GIOLLA CAOIMHGHIN, one of the most celebrated poets and historians 
of his time, has left a variety of historical and chronological writings 
in verse, some of them upwards of six hundred verses in length. One 
commences with the creation, and is carried down to the year in which 
he died. He divides his chronology into different eras, and gives the 
names of several memorable persons who lived in each period. There 
is a fine copy of this in the possession of Sir Win. Betham. Another 
poem gives the names of the ancestors of the chief line of the Gaels, 
from the dispersion at Babel to their establishment in Spain. Copies 
of this are in the books of Ballimote and Leacan, in the library of the 
royal Irish academy. He has also written a poem of six hundred and 


thirty-two verses, which was one of the chief documents on which 
O'Flaherty founded his technical chronology. This poem gives an 
account of the first colonization of Ireland, and enumerates all the 
monarchs that reigned until the time of Laoghaire, A. D. 432, when 
St. Patrick first introduced Christianity into Ireland. Copies of this, 
are also in the books of Ballimote and Leacan. A poem on the Chris- 
tian kings of Ireland, of an hundred and fifty-two verses, has been 
attributed to him, but some authorities give it to Conaing O'Mael- 
conaire. In another poem he gives the names and number of the 
Milesian monarchs that reigned in Ireland, specifying from which of 
the sons of Grolamh each king descended. In the same poem he gives 
the names of the kings who ruled in Ireland of the Eir-Bolg and 
Tuatha-de-Danan races. Giolla died 1072. 

TIGERNACH, abbot of Clon-mac-noise, wrote the annals of Ireland, 
partly in Latin, and partly in Irish, from the reign of Cimbaeth, king 
of Ulster, and monarch of Ireland, A. M. 3596, to his own time. They 
were continued by Augustin M'Grath to the year of our Lord 1405, 
when he died. A copy of these annals is in the library of Trinity 
College, Dublin, and is amongst the most valuable of the existing 
materials for Irish history. Tigernach died in 1072. 

GILLACHRIST TJA MAEILEOIN, according to the learned editor of 
that work as recently (1867) published with notes and an English 
translation for the British government, in that valuable series of histo- 
rical works known as the " Eolls Publications," under the direction of 
the Master of the Rolls, by Mr. William Henessy was the compiler of 
that valuable contribution to a future history of Ireland, the " Chroni- 
con Scottorum" He was abbot of that oft-levelled yet still surviving 
abbey of Clonmacnoise, whence the equally useful earlier " Chronicle of 
Tighernach," and many other works of Irish character have proceeded; 
and died in that office in 1127. Though by no means equal in im- 
portance to the earlier chronicle above named, or to " The Annals of 
the Four Masters," it is valuable alike as supplementary, containing 
various matters which they omit, and as confirmatory ; giving the same 
accounts, but derived, to a greater or less extent, from independent 
sources. Singularly enough, although with only exception of a few 
lines in one or two places written in the Irish character, it is composed 
partly in Latin and partly in Irish ; sentences in each language lying 
side by side, and intermixed continuously throughout it. 

TANAIDHE O'MULCONAIRE wrote two historical poems, one giving 
an account of the kings of the race of Firbolg, who possessed Ireland 
before the arrival of the Tuatha-de-Danan, and whose descendants 
retained a great part of the island until after the introduction of Chris- 
tianity ; the other gives the names of the seven kings of the Tuatha-de- 
Danan race, who ruled Ireland for an hundred and ninety-seven years; 
it also mentions the arrival of the Milesians, A. M. 2935. There are 


copies of both these poems in the book of Invasions by the O'Clerys. 
Tanaidhe died in 1136. 

GIOLLA MODHUDA O'CASSiDY, otherwise called Dall Clairineach, 
abbot of Ardbracean in Heath, was a very learned man, a good histo- 
rian, and a poet. As usual at that time, he wrote his histories in verse. 
In one of them he gives a catalogue of the Christian monarchs of Ire- 
land, with the number of years that each king reigned, from the time 
of Leogaire, A. D. 428, to the death of Haelseachlin II., 1022. In 
a poem of two hundred and forty-four verses, besides enumerating 
the kings, he shows how many of each name reigned ; and in another, 
of three hundred and seventy four ranns* of irregular verses, he gives 
the names of the wives and mothers of the kings and chiefs of Ireland 
of the Hilesian race. Giolla died, according to the best authorities, 
in 1143, though in one of the verses of the last mentioned-poem (which 
is to be found in the book of Leacan), it is stated that it was written 
in 1147. 

GIOLLA O'DuNN, chief bard to the king of Leinster, wrote many 
poems which are preserved in the books of Leacan and Ballimote, 
chiefly connected with Leinster, which he calls " the province of the 
tombs of kings." One of his poems describes the tribes that sprung 
from the sons of Hilesius, and from Lughaid, and the districts possessed 
by them; and another gives an account of the chief tribes descended 
from the three Collas, sons of Cairbre, monarch of Ireland, who was 
killed near Tara in Meath 286, after a reign of seventeen years. 
Giolla died 1160. 

AMONGST the writers of this period, Haurice O'Regan takes a pro- 
minent place, from the importance of the events with which his life 
and writings are connected. He was a native of Leinster, and was 
employed by Dermod HacMurrough, king of that province, to whom 
he was secretary and interpreter, as ambassador to Strongbow, Robert 
Fitzstephen, and other English nobles, to entreat their aid for the 
recovery of his kingdom, from which, as we have before related, he 
was expelled by Roderick O'Connor, and other Irish chiefs, for the 
abduction of Devorgoil, the wife of O'Rourke. O'Regan wrote with 
much accuracy, a history of the affairs of Ireland during his own time, 
in his native tongue, and this composition was translated by a friend, 
into French verse. In the reign of Elizabeth it was again translated 
into English by Sir George Carew, president of Ireland, and after- 
wards earl of Totness. O'Regan was sent by Dermod and Strongbow 
to demand the surrender of Dublin, when they were on their way to 
besiege it, and all his details are given with the animation of an eye- 
witness. His history embraces the events of about three years, from 
the invasion of Strongbow, in the year 1168, to the siege of Limerick, 

* Each rann consists of four verses. 


in 1171, about which period it is supposed, that he either died, or was 
killed, as his history ends abruptly at this event. 

MURRAY or MARIAN O'GoRMAN, abbot of Knock, near Louth, was 
contemporary with llegan. He wrote a martyrology in verse, respect- 
ing which the statements of Ware and Colgan are rather at variance. 
The former says that he published a supplement to the martyrology of 
JUngus, in 1171, while Colgan states that O'Gorman wrote a martyr- 
ology in most elegant Irish verse in the time of Gelasius, archbishop of 
Armagh, about the year 1167, which is held in great esteem, and ever 
will be so, for the beauty of the style, and great fidelity of the perform- 
ance. This (he continues) is, for the most part, collected out of the 
JEngusian martyrology, as an old scholiast, in his preface to that work, 
says; and further, that O'Gorman does not confine himself to the prin- 
cipal saints of Ireland alone, but takes in promiscuously those of other 

CONOR O'KELLY, who died A. D. 1220, wrote a metrical history of 
his own tribe, the O'Kellys, chiefs of Hy-maine, an ancient district 
now comprehended in the counties of Galway and Roscommon. It is 
preserved among the Irish manuscripts in the Marquis of Buckingham's 
library at Stowe. 

ON the death of Matthew O'Reilly, in the year 1293, his brother, 
Giolla Tosa Roe O'Reilly, succeeded him in the government of the 
principality of East Brefny. He was learned, prudent, brave, and vic- 
torious, and he extended his territory from Drogheda to Rath Cruachan, 
now the county of Roscommon. In the year 1300 he built and endowed 
the monastery of Cavan, in which he erected a chapel and marble monu- 
ment as a place of sepulture for himself and family. He was recognised 
by Edward the Second, as one of the chief princes of Ireland, who 
addressed him, " dilecto sibi Gillys O'Reilly Duce Hibernicorum de 
Breifeney," &c., when he wrote a circular letter to the Irish princes 
requesting their aid against the Scotch. Giolla appointed his nephew 
Maelsachlain as his successor, and resigned his principality to him in 
the year 1326, when he retired to the monastery of Cavan, where he 
continued for the remainder of his life, venerated for his wisdom and 
sanctity. He died in 1330. 

He wrote two poems, one of them on the death of his brother 
Matthew, and the other, extolling the power and extent of territory 
possessed by his nephew and successor. 

JOHN O'DuGAN, chief poet of O'Kelly of Ibh Maine, wrote a poem 
of five hundred and sixty-four verses, giving an account of the kings of 
Ireland, from Slainge of the Fir-Bolgian race, who, in conjunction with 
his four brothers, began to reign over Ireland, A. M. 2245, to Roderick 


O'Conor, last monarch of Ireland. A copy of this poem is in the pos- 
session of Sir William Betham. 

He also wrote a topographical and historical poem of nearly nine 
hundred verses, giving the names of the principal tribes of Ulster. Con- 
naught, and Meath, with their chiefs at the time of Henry II. ; but left 
this work unfinished. It was completed by Griolla na Naomh O'Huid- 
brin, who wrote the entire of the history of Munster and its chieftains, 
and nearly the whole of that relative to Leinster. A perfect copy of 
this poem remains in the handwriting of Cucoigcriche O'Clery, one of 
the Four Masters. 

He also wrote a poem recording the kings of Leinster, descended 
from the thirty sons of Cathaoir Mor, monarch of Ireland, and another, 
giving a catalogue of the kings of Cashel, from the time of Core 380, 
to that of Tirlogh O'Brien, 1367. A copy of this is in the book of 
Ballimote. Another poem describes the actions of Cormac Mac Art, 
monarch of Ireland ; but the most curious of all is one upon the festi- 
vals, with rules for finding the moveable feasts and fasts by the epacts 
and dominical letters, and its rules still regulate the practice of many 
who have never seen this poem. He also wrote a poetical vocabulary 
of obsolete words which has since been adopted into dictionaries. 
O'Dugan died in 1372, and O'Huidbrin survived him for nearly fifty 

MAHON O'REILLY, lord of clan Mahon, who died A. D. 1380, wrote 
a poetical eulogy on his son Thomas, prince of East Brefne, who dis- 
tinguished himself by the impetuosity of his valour, and his successful 
resistance against the English, having in a short period levelled eighteen 
castles belonging to the pale, and laid the country from Drogheda to 
Dublin under contribution.' 

MAGNUS O'DuiGNAN, who lived A. D. 1390, is chiefly Known in con- 
nection with the book of Ballimote, on different pages of which his 
name is signed, but it seems uncertain what precise share he had in the 
composition ; whether he Avas the compiler or merely the transcriber of 
those portions of that celebrated book to which his name is appended. 
We shall therefore, here, in the absence of all personal detail respecting 
O'Duignan, proceed to mention such facts respecting this book as have 
come to our knowledge. 

It is described by O'Reilly " as a large folio volume, written on 
vellum of the largest size ; " it contained originally 550 pages, but 
the two first are wanting. As usual in the history of books of this 
class, it pas